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CLASS OF 1919 












Ao:ipe principium rursus, formamque coactam 
Desere : mutatS melior precede figurft. 









Now for the writing of this worke, 

I, who am a lonesome cleike, 

Purposed for to -write a book 

After the world, that whilome took 

Its course in olde days long passed ; 

But tor men sayn, it is now lassed 

In worser plight than it was tho, 

1 thought me for to touch also 

The world which neweth every day— 

So as I can, so as I may, 

Albeit I siclcness have and pain. 

And long have had, yet would I fain 

Do my mind's best and besiness, 

That in some part, so as I guess, 

The gentle mind may be advised. 

GowEB, Pro, to the Confess. Amantis, 










October 7, 18 IS 



The Fkiend was originally printed on stamped paper, and circulated 
exclusively, by the general post, among the scanty number of subscribers : 
with what advantage to himself the author has already related in his 
literary life. Subscriptions still outstanding may be sent to the author by 
the post, if there should be no means of conveying the sum without that 
drawback ; or left for him at Messrs. Boosey and Sons, Booksellers, Broad- 
street. The present volumes are rather a rifacciawsnto than a new 
edition. The additions forming so large a proportion of the whole worlt, 
and the arrangement being altogether new, I might indeed hesitate 
in bestowing the title of a republication on a work which can scarcely 
be said to have been ever published, in the ordinary trade-acceptation of 

the word. 




Friend ! were an author privileged to name his own judge — in addition 
to moral and intellectual competence I should look round for some man, 
whose knowledge and opinions had for the greater part been acquired 
experimentally ; and the practical habits of whose life had put him on 
his guard with respect to all speculative reasoning, without rendering 
him insensible to the desirableness of principles more secure than the 
shifting rules and theories generalized from observations merely empi- 
rical, or unconscious in how many departments of knowledge, and with 
how large a portion even of professional men, such principles are still a 
desideratum. I would select, too, one who felt kindly, nay, even par- 
tially toward me ; but one whose partiality had its strongest founda- 
tions in hope, and more prospective than retrospective would make him 
quick-sighted in the detection, and unreserved in the exposure of the 
deficiencies and defects of each present work, in the anticipation of a 
more developed future. In you, honoured Friend! I have found all 
these requisites combined and realized ; and the improvement which 
these Essays have derived from your judgment and judicious sugges- 
tions, would, of itself, have justified me in accompanying them with a 
public acknowledgment of the same. But knowing, as you cannot but 
know, that I owe in great measure the power of having written at all to 
your medical skill, and to the characteristic good sense which directed 
its exertion in my behalf; and whatever I may have written in happier 
vein to the influence of your society and to the daily proofs of your dis- 
interested attachment — knowing too, in how entire a sympathy with 
your feelings in this respect, the partner of your name has blended the 
afi'ectionate regards of a sister or daughter, with almost a mother's 
watchful and unwearied solicitudes alike for my health, interest and 
tranquillity ;— you will not, I trust, be pained — you ought not I am 
sure, to be surprised — that 


I. Essays : Introductory . . . , 1 

II. The First Landing-Flack ... ... 77 

III. Essays : First Section. Principles of Political Knowledge 101 

IV. The Second LatJding-Place . . . , , . 223 
v. Introduction to Vol. II. or former Edition . . . 249 

VI. Essays : Second Section. Grounds of Morals and Religion 273 

VII. The Third Landing-Place , . .... 346 

VIII. Appendix: Original Pro8pec;us of •'The Friend" (June 1, 

1809) .... 387 



C'»i«te mihi, non est parvoB fidvcicE, polliceri opem decertamtxbm, contUiim, dtibiis, Imtien 
Cfecis, spem dejectis, refrigeriiunfessis. Magna quidem, hmc svrnt, sifiant ; parixt, sipromit- 
tantur. Verum ego non tarn, aliii legem ponam, quam legem vobis mex proprice mentis 
exponam .- quam qui prdbaverit, teneat ; cui mm placuerit, abjiciat. Optarem,fateor, talis 
eise, qui prodesse possem quam plurimis. Petkaech, Z»e Vita Solitaria. 

(Translation.) — Believe me, it requires no little confidence, to promise help to the strug- 
gling, counsel to the doubtful, Ught to the blind, hope to the despondent, refreshment to the 
weary. These are indeed great things, if they be accomplished ; trifles if they exist but in a 
promise. I however aim not so much to prescribe a law for others, as to set forth the law 
of my own mind ; which let the man, who shall have approved of it, abide by ; and let him, 
to whom it shall appear not reasonable, reject it. It is my earnest wisli, I confess, to 
employ my understanding and acquirements in that mode and direction, in which I may be 
enabled to benefit the largest number possible of my fellow-creatures. 

ANTECEDENT to all history, and long glimmering through it as 
a holy tradition, there presents itself to our imagination an inde- 
finite period, dateless as Eternity, a state rather than a time. For even 
the sense of succession is lost in the uniformity of the stream. 

It was toward the close of this golden age (the memory of which the 
self-dissatisfied race of men have everywhere preserved and cherished) 
when conscience acted in man with the ease and uniformity of instinct ; 
when labour was a sweet name for the activity of sane minds in 
healthful bodies, and all enjoyed in common the bounteous harvest 
produced, and gathered in, by common effort ; when there existed in the 
sexes, and in the individuals of each sex, just variety enough to permit 
and call forth the gentle restlessness and final union of chaste love and 
individual attachment, each seeking and finding the beloved one by the 
natural affinity of their beings ; when the dread Sovereign of the 
universe was known only as the Universal Parent, no altar but the pure 
heart, and thanksgiving and grateful love the sole sacrifice- • 

In this blest age of dignified innocence one of their honoured elders, 
whose absence they were beginning to notice, entered with hurrying 


2 The Friend. 

steps the place of their common assemblage at noon, and instantly 
attracted the general attention and wonder by the perturbation of his 
gestures, and by a strange trouble both in his eyes and over his whole 
countenance. After a short but deep silence, when the first buzz of 
varied inquiry was becoming audible, the old man moved toward a small 
eminence, and having ascended it, he thus addressed the hushed and 
listening company : — 

" In the warmth of the approaching mid-day, as I was reposing in the 
vast cavern, out of which, from its northern portal, issues the river that 
winds through our vale, a voice powerful, yet not from its loudness, sud- 
denly hailed me. Guided by my ear I looked toward the supposed place of 
the sound for some Form, from which it had proceeded. I beheld nothing 
but the glimmering walls of the cavern. Again, as I was turning round, 
the same voice hailed me ; and whithersoever I turned my face, thence 
did the voice seem to proceed. I stood still therefore, and in reverence 
awaited its continuation. ' Sojourner of earth ! (these were its words) 
hasten to the meeting of thy brethren, and the words which thou now 
hearest, the same do thou repeat unto them. On the thirtieth morn ^ 
from the morrow's sun-rising, and during the space of thrice three days 
and thrice three nights, a thick cloud will cover the sky, and a heavy 
rain fall on the earth. Go ye therefore, ere the thirtieth sun ariseth, 
retreat to the cavern of the river and there abide, till th« clouds have 
passed away and the rain be over and gone. For know ye of a certainty 
that whomever that rain wetteth, on him, yea, on him and on his children's 
children will fall— the spirit of madness.' Yes ! madness was the word 
of the voice : what this be, I know not ! But at the sound of the word 
trembling came upon me, and a feeling which I would not have had; 
and I remained even as ye beheld and now behold me." 

The old man ended, and retired. Confused murmurs succeeded, and 
woiider, and doubt. Day followed day, and every day brought with it 
a diminution of the awe impressed. They could attacb no image, no- 
remembered sensations, to the threat. The ominous morn arrived, the 
Prophet had retired to the appointed cavern, and there remained alone 
during the appointed time. On the tenth morning, he emerged from 
his place of shelter, and sought his friends and brethren. But alas ! how 
affrightful the change ! Instead of the common children of one great 
family, working towards the same aim by reason, even as the bees in 
their hives by instinct, he looked and beheld, here a miserable wretch 
watching over a heap of hard and unnutritious small substances, which 
he had dug out of the earth, at the cost of mangled limbs and exhausted 
faculties. This he appeared to worship, at this he gazed, even as the 
youths of the vale had been accustomed to gaze at their chosen vir^-ins 
in the first season of their choice. There he saw a former companion 
speeding on and panting after a butterfly, or a withered leaf whirling 

Essay 1. 3 

OTivvard in the breeze ; and ancither witti pale and distorted countenance 
following close behind, and still stretching forth a dagger to stab his 
precursor in the back. In another place he observed a whole troop of his 
fellow-men famished and in fetters, yet led by one of their brethren who 
had enslaved them, and pressing furiously onwards in the hope of 
famishing and enslaving another troop moving in an opposite direction. 
For the first time, the Prophet missed his accustomed power of dis- 
tinguishing between his dreams and his waking perceptions. He stood 
gazing and motionless, when several of the race gathered around him, 
and inquired of each other. Who is this man ? how strangely he looks ! 
how wild ! — a worthless idler ! exclaims one : assuredly, a very 
dangerous madman ! cries a second. In short, from words they pro- 
ceeded to violence: till harassed, endangered, solitary in a world of 
forms like his own, without sympathy, vdthout object of love, he 
at length espied in some foss or furrow a quantity of the maddening 
water still unevaporated, and uttering the last words of reason, It is in" 
VAIN TO BE SANE IN A WORLD OF MADMEN, plunged and rolled himself in., 
the liquid poison, and came out as mad as, and not more wretched than, 
his neighbours and acquaintance. 

The plan of The Friend is comprised in the motto to this Essay. This 
tale or allegory seems to me to contain the objections to its practicability 
in all their strength. Either, says the sceptic, you are the blind offering 
to lead the blind, or you are talking the language of sight to those who 
do not possess the sense of seeing. If you mean to be read, try to enter- 
tain and do not pretend to instruct. To such objections it would be 
amply sufficient, on my system of faith, to answer, that we are not 
all blind, but all subject to distempers of " the mental sight," differing in 
kind and in degree ; that though all men are in error, they are not all in 
the same error, nor at the same time ; and that each therefore maj 
possibly heal the other, even as two or more physicians, all diseased ir 
their general health yet under the immediate action of the disease on 
different days, may remove or alleviate the complaints of each other. 
But in respect to the entertainingness of moral writings, if in entertain- 
ment be included whatever delights the imagination or affects tht 
generous passions, so far from rejecting such a mean of persuading thf 
human soul, my very system compels me to defend not only the pro- 
priety but the absolute necessity of adopting it, if we really intend 
to render our fellow-creatures better or wiser. 

But it is with dullness as with obscurity. It may be positive, and 
the author's fault ; but it may likewise be relative, and if the author has 
presented his bill of fare at the portal, the reader has himself only to 
blame. The main question then is, of what class are the persons to be 
entertained ? — " One of the later schools of the Grecians (says Lord 
Bacon, Essaj I.) is at a stand to think what should be in it that meu 

4 The Friend. 

should love lies, where neither they make for pleasure, as wita poets; 
nor for advantage, as with the merchant ; but for the lie's sake. T 
cannot tell why, this same truth is a naked and open day-light, that doth 
not shew the masques and mummeries and triumphs of the present 
world half so stately and daintily, as candle-lights. Truth may perhaps 
come to the price of a pearl, that sheweth best by day ; but it will not 
rise to the price of a diamond or carbuncle, which shewetli best in 
varied lights. A mixture of lies doth ever add pleasure. Doth any 
man doubt, that if there were taken from men's minds vain opinions, 
flattering hopes, false valuations, imaginations as one would, and the like 
vinum dsemonum (as a father calleth poetry), but it would leave 
the minds of a number of men, poor shranken things, full of melancholy 
and indisposition, and unpleasing to themselves .?" 

A melancholy, a too general, but not, I trust, a universal truth ! — and 
even where it does apply, yet in many instances not irremediable. Such 
at least must have been my persuasion : or the present volumes must 
have been wittingly written to no purpose. If I believed our nature 
fettered to all this wretchedness of head and heart by an absolute and 
innate necessity, at least by a necessity which no human power, no 
efforts of reason or eloquence could remove or lessen ; I should deem it 
even presumptuous to aim at other or higher object than that of amusing 
a small portion of the reading public. 

And why not ? whispers worldly prudence. To amuse though only 
to amuse our visitors is wisdom as well as good-nature, where it is pre- 
sumption to attempt their amendment. And truly it would be most 
convenient to me in respects of no triiiing importance, if I could persuade 
myself to take the advice. Kelaxed by these principles from all moral 
obhgation, and ambitious of procuring pastime and self-oblivion for 
a race, which could have nothing noble to remember, nothing desirable 
to anticipate, I might aspire even to the praise of the critics and 
dilettanti of the higher circles of society ; of some trusty guide of blind 
fashion ; some pleasant analyst of taste, as it exists both in the palate 
and the soul ; some living gauge and mete-wand of past and present 
genius. But alas! my former studies would still have left a wrong 
bias ! If instead of perplexing my common sense with the flights o^f 
Plato, and of stiffening over the meditations of the imperial Stoic I had 
been labouring to imbibe the gay spirit of a Casti, or had employed my 
erudition, for the benefit of the favoured few, in elucidatino- the 
interesting deformities of ancient Greece and India, what mio-ht I not 
have hoped from the suffrage of those, who turn in weariness from the 
Paradise Lost, because compared with the prurient heroes and orotesquo 
monsters of Italian romance, or even with, the narrative dialof^ues of thf 
melodious Metastasio, that — " adventurous song, 

' Which justifies the ways of Gcd to man," 

Essay 2. 6 

bis been found a poor substitute for a Grimaldi, a most inapt medicine 
for an occasional propensity to yawn ? For, as hatli been decided, to fill 
up pleasantly tbe brief intervals of fashionable pleasures, and above all to 
charm away the dusky Gnome of Ennui, is the chief and appropriate 
business of the poet and — the novelist ! This duty unfulfilled, Apollo 
will have lavished his best gifts in vain ; and Urania henceforth must 
be content to inspire astronomers alone, and leave the sons of verse to 
more amusive patronesses. And yet — and yet — but it will be time to be 
serious, when my visitors have sat down. 


sic opm'tet ad librum, prcsertiwi, miscellanei generis, legendum accedere lectorem, ut solet 
ad convivium conviva cimlis. Convivator annititur omnibus satisfacere : et tamen si quid 
apponitur, quod hujus aut illius pcdato mm respondeat, et hie et ille urbane dissimulant, et 
alia fercula probant, ne quid contristent conmvatorem. Quisenimeum convivam ferat, quz 
tantum hoc animo veniat ad mensam, vi carpens quce apponuntur nee vescatur ipse, nee alios 
vesci sinat f Et tamen his quoqu^ reperias inciviliores, qui palam, qui sine fine damnent ac 
lacerent opus, quod nunquam legerint. Ast hoc plusquam sycophantlcum est damnare quod 
nesdas. — Eeasmtts. 

{Translation.) — A reader should sit down to a book, especially of the miscellaneous kind, 
as a well-behaved visitor does to a banquet. The master of the feast exerts himself to satisfy 
all his guests ; but if after all his care and pains there should still be something or other put 
ou the table that does not suit this or that person's taste, they politely pass it over without 
noticing the circumstance, and commend other dishes, that they may not distress their kind 
host, or throw any damp on his spirits. For who could tolerate a guest that accepted an in- 
vitation to your table with no other purpose but that of finding fault with everything put 
before him, neither eating himself, or suffering others to eat in comfort ? And yet you may 
fall in with a still worse set than even these, with churls that, in all companies and without 
stop or stay, will condemn and pull to pieces a work which they had never read. But this 
sinks below the baseness of an informer, yea, though he wore a false witness to boot ! The 
man who abuses a thing of which he is utterly ignorant, unites the infamy of both — and in 
addition to this, makes himself the pander and sycophant of Ms own and other men's envy 
and malignity. 

THE musician may tune his instrument in private, ere his audience 
have yet assembled : the architect conceals the foundation of his 
building beneath the superstructure. But an author's harp must be 
tuned in the hearing of those, who are to understand its after har- 
monies ; the foundation stones of his edifice must lie open to common 
view, or his friends will hesitate to trust themselves beneath the roof. 

Prom periodical literature the general reader deems himself entitled 
to expect amusement and some degree of information, and if the writer 
can convey any instruction at the same time and without demanding 
any additional thought (as the Irishman, in the hackneyed jest, is said 
to have passed off a light guinea between two good halfpence) this super- 
erogatory merit will not perhaps be taken amiss. Now amusement in 
and for itself may be afforded by the gratification either of the curiosity 
w of the passions. I use the former word as distinguished from the 

6 The Friend. H 

love of knowledge, and the latter in distinction from those emotiona 
which arise in well-ordered minds, from the perception of truth or false- 
hood, virtue or vice :— emotions, which are always preceded by thought, 
and hnked with improvement. Again, all information pursued without 
any wish of becoming wiser or better thereby, I class among the gratifi- 
sations of mere curiosity, whether it be sought for in a light novel or a 
grave history. We may therefore omit the word information, as in- 
cluded either in amusement or instruction. 

The present work is an experiment; not whether a writer may 
honestly overlook the one, or successfully omit the other, of the two 
elements themselves, which serious readers at kast persuade themselves 
they pursue ; but whether a change might not be hazarded of the usual 
order, in which periodical writers have in general attempted to convey 
them. Having myself experienced that no delight either in kind or 
degree, is equal to that which accompanies the distinct perception of a 
fundamental truth, relative to our moral being ; having, long after the 
completion of what is ordinarily caUed a learned education, discovered a 
new world of intellectual profit opening on me-^not from any new 
opinions, but lying, as it were, at the roots of those which I had been 
taught in childhood in my catechism and spelling-book ; there arose a 
soothing hope in my mind that a lesser public might be found, composed 
of persons susceptible of the same delight, and desirous of attaining it 
by the same process. I heard a whisper too from within, (I trust that 
it proceeded from conscience, not vanity,) that a duty was performed in 
the endeavour to render it as much easier to them, than it had been to 
me, as could be effected by the united efi'orts of my understanding and 

Actuated by this impulse, the writer wishes, in the following Essays, 
to convey not instruction merely, but fundamental instruction ; not so 
much to show my reader this or that fact, as to kindle his own torch for 
him, and leave it to himself to choose the particular objects, which he 
might wish to examine by its light. The Friend does not indeed exclude 
from his plan occasional interludes, and vacations of innocent entertain- 
ment and promiscuous information, but still in the main he proposes to 
himself the communication of such delight as rewards the march of 
truth, rather than to collect the flowers which diversify its track, in 
order to present them apart from the homely yet foodful or medicinable 
herbs, among which they had gi-own. To refer men's opinions to their 
absolute principles, and thence their feelings to the appropriate objects, 
and in their due degrees ; and finally, to apply the principles thus ascer- 
tained, to the formation of stedfast convictions concerning the most im- 
portant questions of politics, morality, and religion — these are to be the 
objects and the contents of his work. 

Themes like these not even the genius of a Plato or a Bacon could 

Ensay 2. ■ 7 

render intelligible, without demanding from the reader thought some- 
times, and attention generally. By thought I here mean the voluntary 
production in our minds of those states of consciousness, to which, as to 
his fundamental facts, the writer has referred us : while attention has 
for its ohject the order and connection of thoughts and images, each of 
which is in itself already and familiarly known. Thus the elements of 
geometry require attention only ; but the analysis of our primary facul- 
ties, and the investigation of all the absolute grounds of religion and 
morals, are impossible without energies of thought in addition to the 
effort of attention. The Friend will not attempt to disguise from hig 
readers that both attention and thought are efforts, and the latter a most 
difficsit and laborious effort ; nor from himself, that to require it often 
or for any continuance of time is incompatible with the nature of the 
present publication, even were it less incongruous than it unfortunately 
is with the present habits and pursuits of Englishmen. Accordingly I 
shall be on my guard to make the numbers as few as possible, which 
would require from a well-educated reader any energy of thought and 
voluntary abstraction. 

But attention, I confess, will be requisite throughout, except in the 
exciu-sive and miscellaneous essays that will be found interposed between 
each of the three main divisions of the work. On whatever subject the 
mind feels a lively interest, attention, though always an effort, becomes 
a delightful effort, I should be quite at ease, could I secure for the 
whole work as much of it, as a card party of earnest whist-players often 
expend in a single evening, or a lady in the making-up of a fashionable 
dress. But where no interest previously exists, attention (as every 
schoolmaster knows) can be procured only by terror : which is the true 
reason why the majority of mankind learn nothing systematically, ex- 
cept as schoolboys or apprentices. 

Happy shall I be, from other motives besides those of self-interest, if 
no fault or deficiency on my part shall prevent the work from furnishing 
a presumptive proof, that there are still to be found among us a respect- 
able number of readers who are desirous to derive pleasure from the 
consciousness of being instructed or ameliorated ; and who feel a suflB- 
cient interest as to the foundations of their own opinions in literature, 
politics, morals, and religion, to afford that degree of attention, without 
which, however men may deceive themselves, no actual progress ever 
was or ever can be made in that knowledge, which supplies at once both 
Btreiigth and nourishment. 

The Friend. 


•AAA' ois TrapeXapov rnv Texvt)v ^rapa aov, to trfilaTOV uev €V0Vt 
Oi&ov(rav viro «0(X7ra(r/iaT(oi', Kal pruxaTuiv itra-xSj^v, 
'lo'Xi'aco jxiv jrpwTio'Tov a.vTi)v, Kai to ^apos a<peiAoi' 
'Ein;AA.toi5 Kal irepiTraTOis Kal TeurXiotcrt /iwcpots 
XvVbi/ 6tSov! o-TuiavXiidTbiv, aTrb (StjSAuov, aw' 176(01'. 

Aeistoph. SaTMI. 

When I received the Muse from you, I found her puffed and pampered. 
With pompous sentences and tenns, a cumbrous huge virago. 
My first attention was applied to make her look genteelly, 
And bring her to a moderate bulk by dint of lighter diet, 
I fed her with plaki household phrase, and cool familiar salad, 
With water-gruel episode, with sentimental jelly. 
With moral mince-meat : tiU at length I brought her within compass. 


IN the preceding number I named the present undertaking an experi- 
ment. The explanation will be found in the following letter, written 
to a correspondent during the first attempt, and before the plan was dis- 
continued from an original error in the mode of circulation, as noticed in 
the Preface.f 

To B. L. 
Deah Sir, 
When I first undertook the present Publication for the sake and with 
the avowed object of referring men in all things to principles or funda- 
mental truths, I was well aware of the obstacles which the plan itself 
would oppose to my success. For in order to the regular attainment of 
this object, all the driest and least attractive essays must appear in the 
first fifteen or twenty numbers, and thus subject me to the necessity of 
demanding effort or soliciting patience in that part of the work, where it 
was most my interest to secure the confidenee of my readers by winning 
their favour. Though I dared warrant for the pleasantness of the 
journey on the whole ; though I might promise that the road would, for 
the far greater part of it, be found plain and easy, that it would pass 
through countries of various prospect, and that at every stage there 
would be a change of company ; it still remained a heavy disadvantage, 
that I had to start at the foot of a high and steep hill : and I foresaw, 
not without occasional feelings of despondency, that during the slow and 
laborious ascent it would require no common management to keep my 
passengers in good humour with the vehicle and its driver. As far as 
this inconvenience could be palliated by sincerity and previous confes- 

• This imitation is prmted (here by per- that it will form an important epoch in 

mission of the author, from a series of free English literature, and open out sources of 

translations of selected scenes from Aristo- metrical and rlnythmical wealth in the very 

Ehanes : a work, of which (should the author heart of our language, of which few if any 

e persuaded to make it public) it is my most among us are aware.— S. T C ' 

ieliberate judgment, and inmost conviction, f See advertisement to second edition. 

Etisay 3. 9 

eion, I have no reason to accvise myself of neglect. In the prospectus* 
of The Friend, which for this cause 1 repiinted and annexed to the first 
number, I felt it my duty to inforna such as might be inclined to pa- 
tronise the publication, that I must submit to be eeteemed dull by those 
who sought chiefly for amusement : and this I hazarded as a general 
confession, though in my own mind I felt a cheerful confidence that it 
would apply almost exclusively to the earlier numbers. I could not 
therefore be surprised, however much I may have been depressed, by the 
frequency with which you hear The Friend complained of for its ab^ 
struseness and obscurity ; nor did the highly flattering expressions, with 
which you accompanied your communication, prevent me from feeling 
its truth to the whole extent. 

An author's pen, like children's legs, improves by exercise. That 
part of the blame which rests on myself, I am exerting my best faculties 
to remove. A man long accustomed to silent and solitary meditation, in 
proportion as he increases the power of thinking in long and connected 
trains, is apt to lose or lessen the talent of communicating, his thoughts 
with grace and perspicuity. Doubtless too, I have in some measure in- 
jured my style, in respect to its facihty and popularity, from having 
almost confined my reading, of late years, to the works of the ancients 
and those of the elder writers in the modern languages. We insensibly 
imitate what we habitually admire ; and an aversion to the epigrammatic 
unconnected periods of the fashionable Anglo-gallican taste has too often 
made me willing to forget, that the stately march and difficult evolutions, 
which characterise the eloquence of Hooker, Bacon, Milton, and Jeremy 
Taylor, are, notwithstanding their intrinsic excellence, still less suited 
to a periodical essay. This fault I am now endeavouring to correct ; 
though I can never so far sacrifice my judgment to the desire of being 
immediately popular, as to cast my sentences in the French moulds, or 
affect a style which an ancient critic would have deemed purposely in- 
vented for persons troubled with asthma to read, and for those to com- 
prehend who labour under the more pitiable asthma of a short-witted 
intellect. It cannot but be injurious to the huroan mind never to ba 
sailed into effort : the habit of receiving pleasure without any 
exertion of thought, by the mere excitement of curiosity and sen- 
sibility, may be justly ranked among the worst effects of habitual novel 
reading. It is true that these short and unconnected sentences are 
easily aird instantly understood i but it is equally true, that wanting all 
the cement of thought as well as of style, all the connections, and (if 
you will forgive so trivial a metaphor) all the hooks-and-eyes of the 
memory, they are as easily forgotten : or rather, it is scarcely possiblo 
that they should bo remembered.— Nor is it less true, that those who 

• See the end of this volume. 

10 The Friend. 

sonfine their reading to such books dwarf their own faculties, and finally 
reduce their understandings to a deplorable imbecility : the fact you 
mention, and which I shall hereafter make use of, is a fair instance and 
a striking illustration. Like idle morning visitors, the brisk and breath- 
less periods hurry in and hurry off in quick and profitless succession ; 
each indeed for the moments of its stay prevents the pain of vacancy, 
while it indulges the love of sloth ; but all together they leave the mis- 
tress of the house (the soul I mean) flat and exhausted, incapable of 
attending to her own concerns, and unfitted for the conversation of 
more rational guests. 

I know you will not suspect me of fostering so idle a hope, as that of 
obtaining acquittal by recrimination ; or think that I am attacking one 
fault, in order that its opposite may escape notice in the noise and smoke 
of the battery. On the contrary, I shall dto my best, and even make all 
allowable sacrifices, to render my manner more attractive and my matter 
more generally interesting. In the establishment of principles and 
fundamental doctrines, I must of necessity require the attention of my 
reader to become my fellow-labourer. The primary facts essential to the 
intelligibility of my principles I can prove to others only as far as I can 
prevail on them to retire into themselves and make their own minds the 
objects of their stedfkst attention. But, on the other hand, I feel too 
deeply the importance of the convictions, which first impelled me to the 
present undertaking, to leave unattempted any honourable means of re- 
commending them to as wide a circle as possible. 

Hitherto, my dear sir, I have been employed in laying the foundationa 
of my work. But the proper merit of a foundation is its massivenesa 
and solidity. The conveniences and ornaments, the gilding and stucco 
work, the sunshine and sunny prospects, will come with the superstruc- 
ture. Yet I dare not flatter myself, that any endeavours of mine, com- 
patible with the duty I owe to truth and the hope of permanent utiHty, 
will render The Friend agreeable to the majority of what is called the 
reading pubhc. I never expected it. How indeed could I, when I was 
to borrow so little from the influence of passing events, and when I had 
absolutely excluded from my plan all appeals to personal curiosity and 
personal interests ? Yet even this is not my greatest impediment. No 
real information can be conveyed, no important errors rectified, no 
Tvidely injurious prejudices rooted up, without requiring some effort of 
thought on the part of the reader. But the obstinate (and toward a 
contemporary writer, the contemptuous) aversion to all intellectual effort 
is the mother evil of all which I had proposed to war against, the queen 
bee in the hive of our errors and misfortunes, both private and national. 
To solicit the attention of those, on whom these debilitating causfes have 
acted to their full extent, would be no less absurd than to recommend ex- 
SKise with the dumb bells, as the only mode of cure, to a patient paralytic 

Ehsay 3. 11 

in both arms. Tou, my dear sir, well know, that my expectations wera 
more modest as well as more rational. I hoped, that my readers in 
general would be aware of the impracticability of suiting every essay to 
every taste in any period of the work ; and that they would not attribute 
wholly to the author, but in part to the necessity of his plan, the 
austerity and absence of the lighter graces in the first fifteen or twenty 
numbers. In my cheerful moods I sometimes flattered myself, that a 
few even among those, who foresaw that my lucubrations would at all 
times require more attention than from the nature of their own employ- 
ments they could afford thein, might yet find a pleasure in supporting 
The Friend during its infancy, so as to give it a chance of attracting the 
notice of others, to whom its style and subjects might be better adapted. 
But my main anchor was the hope, that when circumstances gradually 
enabled me to adopt the ordinary means of making the publication 
generally known, there might be found throughout the kingdom a suffi- 
cient number of meditative minds, who, entertaining similar convictions 
with myself, and gratified by the prospect of seeing them reduced to 
form and system, would take a warm interest in the work from the very 
circumstance, that it wanted those allurements of transitory interests, 
which render particular patronage superfluous, and for the brief season 
of their blow and fragrance attract the eye of thousands, who would pass 

Of sober tint, and herbs of medicinable powers. 

In these three introductory numbers, The Friend has endeavoured to 
realize his promise of giving an honest bill of fare, both as to the objects 
and the style of the work. With reference to both I conclude with a 
prophecy of Simon Grynseus, from his premonition to the candid reader, 
prefixed to Ficinus's translation of Plato, published at Ley den, 1557. 
How far it has been gradually fulfilled in this country since the 
Eevolution in 1688, I leave to my candid and intelUgent readers to 

' Ac dolet mihi quidem deliciis literarum inescatos subito jam homines 
adeo esse, prsesertim qui Christianos se profitentur, ut legere nisi quod 
ad presentem gustum facit, sustineant nihil : imde et disciplinae et 
philosophia ipsa jam fere prorsus etiam a doctis negliguntur. Quod 
quidem propositum studiorum nisi mature corrigetur, tarn magnimx 
rebus incommodum dabit, quam dedit barbaries olim. Pertinax res 
barbaries est, fateor ; sed minus potest tamen, quam ilia persuasa 
prudentia literarum, si ratione caret, sapientiffi virtutisque specie misere 
luctores circumducens. 

' Succedet igitur, ut arbitror, baud ita multo post, pro rusticana saeculi 
nostri mditate captatrix ilia blandiloquentia, robur animi virilis omne, 
omnem yirtutem niasculam profligatura, nisi cavetur.' 

12 TheFrietid. 

(Translation.)~\n very truth, it grieveth me that inen, those espe- 
cially who profess themselves to be Christians, should be so taken with 
the sweet baits of literature that they can endure to read nothing but 
what gives them immediate gratification, no matter how low or sensual 
it may be. Consequently, the more austere and discipUnary branches 
of philosophy itself are almost wholly neglected, even by the .earned.— 
A course of study (if such reading, with such a purpose in view, could 
deserve that name) which, if not corrected in time, will occasion worse 
consequences than even barbarism did in the times of our forefathers. 
Barbarism is, I own, a wilful headstrong thing ; but with all its blind 
obstinacy it has less power of doing harm than this self-sufficient, self- 
satisfied plain good common-sense sort of writing, this prudent saleable 
popular style of composition, if it be deserted by reason and scientific 
insight ; pitiably decoying the minds of men by an imposing show of 
amiableness, and practical wisdom, so that the delighted reader knowing 
nothing knows all about almost everything. There will succeed there- 
fore in my opinion, and that too within no long time, to the rude::e£S 
and rusticity of our age, that ensnaring meretricious popularness in 
literature, with all the tricksy humilities of the ambitious candidates for 
the favourable suffrages of the judicious public, which if we do not 
take good care will break up and scatter before it all robustness and 
manly vigour of intellect, all masculine fortitude of virtue. 


Si modd qiuB natura et ratione concessa sint, assumpsenmus, prcBsumptionis suspicio a noM 
gtiaw* longissime aie^se debet. Multa antiquitati, nohismet nihil, arrogamus. Nihilne vos t 
A'ihil mehercvle, nisi quod omnia omni anirtw veritcUi arrogamus et saiictiinonice. 

TJlb. Rinov. De Controversiit. 

{Translation.) — If we assume only what nature and reason have granted, with no shadow 
of right can we be suspected of presumption. To antiquity we arrogate many things, to our- 
selves nothing. Nothing ? Aye, nothing : unless indeed it be, that with all our strength we 
arrogate all things to truth and moral purity. 

IT has been remarked by the celebrated Haller, that we are deaf while 
we are yawning. The same act of drowsiness that stretches open our 
mouths, closes our ears. It is much the same in acts of the understand- 
ing. A lazy half-attention amounts to a mental yawn. Where then a 
subject, that demands thought, has been thoughtfully treated, and with 
an exact and patient derivation from its principleSj we must be willing' 
to exert a portion of the same effort, and to think with the author, or 
the author will have thought in vain for us. It makes little difference 
for the time being, whether there be an hiatus oscitans in the reader's 
attention, or an hiatus lacrymabilis in the author's manuscript. When 
this occurs during the perusal of a work of known authority and 
established fame, we honestly lay the fault on ouv own deficiency, or on 

Essay i. 13 

the unfitness of our present mood; but when it is a contemporary pro- 
duction, over which we have heen nodding, it is far more pleasant to 
pronounce it insufferably dull and obscure. Indeed, as charity begins 
at home, it would be unreasonable to expect that a reader should charge 
himself with lack of intellect, when the effect may be equally well ac- 
counted for by declaring the author unintelligible ; or that he should 
accuse his own inattention, when by half a dozen phrases of abuse, as 
" heavy stuff, metaphysical jargon," &c., he can at once excuse his lazi- 
ness, and gratify his pride, scorn, and envy. To similar impulses we 
must attribute the praises of a true modern reader, when he meets with 
;a work in the true modern taste : videlicet, either in skipping, uncon- 
nected, short-winded asthmatic sentences, as easy to be understood as 
impossible to be remembered, in which the merest common-place ac- 
quires a momentary poignancy, a petty titillating sting, from affected 
point and wilful antithesis ; or else in, g4;rutting and rounded periods, in 
which the emptiest truisms are blown up into illustrious bubbles by 
help of film and inflation. " Aye !" (quoth the delighted reader) " this 
is sense, this is genius ! this I understand and admire ! I have thought 
the very same a hundred times myself !" In other words, this man has 
reminded me of my own cleverness, and therefore I admire him. ! for 
one piece of egotism that presents itself under its own honest bare face 
. of " I myself I," there are fifty that steal out in the mask of tu-isms and 
ille-isms I 

It has ever been my opinion, that an excessive solicitude to avoid the 
use of our first personal pronoun more often has its source in conscious 
selfishness than in true self-oblivion. A quiet observer of human foUies 
may often amuse or sadden his thoughts by detecting a perpetual feeling 
of purest egotism through a long masquerade of disguises, the half of 
which, had old Proteus been master of as many, would have wearied 
out the patience of Menelaus, I say, the patience only : for it would 
ask more than the simplicity of Folypheme, with his one eye extin- 
guished, to be deceived by so poor a repetition of Nobody. Yet I can 
with strictest truth assure my readers that with a pleasure combined 
with a sense of weariness I see the nigh approach of that point of my 
labours, in which I can convey my opinions and the workings of my 
heart without reminding the reader obtrusively of myself. But the 
frequency, with which I have spoken in my own person, recalls my ap- 
prehensions to the second danger, which it was my hope to guard 
against ; the probable charge of arrogance, or presumption, both for 
daring to dissent from the opinions of great authorities, and, in my 
following numbers perhaps, from the general opinion concerning the 
true value of certain Authorities deemed great. The word presumption 
1 appropriate to the internal feeling, and arrogance to the way and 
manner of outwardly exyressing ourselves. 

14 The Friend. 

As no man can rightfully be condemned without reference to Bome 
definite law, by the knowledge of which he might have avoided the 
given fault, it is necessary so to define the constituent qualities and 
conditions of arrogance, that a reason may be assignable why we 
pronounce one man guilty and acquit another. For merely to call 
a person arrogant or most arrogant, can convict no one of the vice except 
perhaps the accuser. I was once present, when a young man who had 
left his books and a glass of water to join a convivial party, each of 
whom had nearly finished his second bottle, was pronounced very drunk 
by the whole party — "he looked so strange and pale !" Many a man, 
who has contrived to hide his ruling passion or predominant defect from 
himself, will betray the same to dispassionate observers, by his proneness 
on all occasions to suspect or accuse others of it. Now arrogance and 
presumption, like all other moral qualities, must be shown by some act ; 
or conduct : and this, too, must be an act that implies, if not an 
immediate concurrence of the will, yet some faulty constitution of the 
moral habits. Tor all criminality supposes its essentials to have been 
within the power of the agent. Either, therefore, the facts adduced do 
of themselves convey the whole proof of the charge, and the question 
rests on the truth or accuracy with which they have been stated ; or 
they acquire their character from the dreumstances. I have looked 
into a ponderous review of the corpuscular philosophy by a Sicihan 
Jesuit, in which the acrimonious Father frequently expresses his doubt, 
whether he should pronounce Boyle or Newton more impious than 
presumptuous or more presumptuous than impious^, They had both 
attacked the reigning opinions on most important subjects — opinions 
sanctioned by the greatest names of antiquity, and by the general 
sufl'rage of their learned contemporaries or immediate predecessors. 
Locke was assailed with a full cry for his presumption in having 
deserted the philosophical system at that time generally received by the 
universities of Europe ;. and of late years Dr. Priestley bestowed the 
epithets of arrogant and insolent on Eeid, Beattie, &c., for presuming to 
arraign certain opinions of Mr. Locke, himself repaid in kind by many of 
his own countrymen for his theological novelties. It will scarcely be 
affirmed that these accusations were all of them just, or that any of 
them were fit or courteous. Must we therefore say, that in order to 
avow doubt or disbeUef of a popular persuasion without arrogance, it is 
required that the dissentient should know himself to possess the genius, 
and foreknow that he should acquire the reputation, of Locke, Newton, 
Boyle, or even of a Eeid or Beattie? But as this knowledge and 
prescience are impossible in the strict sense of the words, and could mean 
no more than a strong inward conviction, it is manifest that such a rule, 
if it were universally established, would encourage the presumptuous, 
and condemn modest and humble minds alone to silence. And a£ this 

Essay 4. 15 

Bilence could mot acquit the individual's own mind of presumption, 
unless it were accompanied by conscious acquiescence ; modesty itself 
must become an inert quality, which even in private society never 
displays its charms more unequivocally than in its mode of reconciling 
moral deference with intellectual courage, and general diffidence with 
sincerity in the avowal of the particular conviction. 

We must seek then elsewhere for the true marks, by which 
presumption or arrogance may be detected, and on which the charge may 
be grounded with little hazard of mistake or injustice. And as I confine 
my present observations to literature, I deem such criteria neither 
difficult to determine or to apply. The first mark, as it appears to me, 
is a frequent bare assertion of opinions not generally received, without 
condescending to prefix or annex the facts and reasons on which such 
opinions were formed ; especially if this absence of logical courtesy is 
supplied by contemptuous or abusive treatment of such as happen to 
doubt of, or oppose, the decisive ipse dixit. But to assert,, however 
nakedly, that a passage in a lewd novel, in which the Sacred Writings 
are denounced as more Ukely to pollute the young and innocent mind 
than a romance notorious for its indecency — to assert, I say, that such a 
passage argues equal impudence and ignorance in its author, at the time 
of writing and publishing it — this is not arrogance ; although to a vast 
majority of the decent part of our countrymen it would be superfluous aa 
a truism, if it were exclusively an author's business to convey or revive 
knowledge, and not sometimes his duty to awaken the indignation of his 
reader by the expression of his own. 

A second species of this unamiable quality, which has been often dis- 
tinguished by the name of Warburtonian arrogance, betrays itself, not as 
in the former, by proud or petulant omission of proof or argument, but 
by the habit of ascribing weakness of intellect, or want of taste and 
sensibility, or hardness of heart, or corruption of moral principle, to all 
who deny the truth of the doctrine, or the sufficiency of evidence, or the 
fairness of the reasoning adduced in its support. This is, indeed, not 
essentially different from the first, but assumes a separate character from 
its accompaniments : for though both the doctrine and its proofs may 
have been legitimately supplied by the understanding, yet the bittemesSi 
of personal crimination will resolve itself into naked assertion. We are, 
therefore, authorized by experience, and justified on the principle of self- 
defence and by the law of fair retahation, in attributing it to a vicious 
temper, arrogant from irritability, or irritable from arrogance. This 
learned arrogance admits of many gradations, and is palliated or 
aggravated, accordingly as the point in dispute has been more or less 
controverted, as the reasoning bears a greater or smaller proportion to 
the virulence of the personal detraction, and as the person or parties, 

16 The Friend. 

who are the objects of it, are more or less respected, more or less worthy - 
of respect* 

Lastly, it must be admitted as a just imputation cf presumption when 
an individual obtrudes on the public eye, with all the high pretensions 
of originality, opinions and observations, in regard to which he must 
plead wilful ignorance in order to be acquitted of dishonest plagiarism. 
On the same seat must the writer be placed, who in a disquisition on any 
important subject proves, by falsehoods either of omission or of positive 
error, that he has neglected to possess himself, not only of the informa- 
tion requisite for this particular subject, but even of those acquirements, 
and that general knowledge, which could alone authorize him to 
commence a public instructor : this is an ofBce which cannot be procured ' 
gratis. The industry necessary for the due exercise of its functions is 
its purchase money ; and the absence or insufficiency of the same is so 
far a species of dishonesty, and implies a presumption in the literal as 
well as the ordinary sense of the word. He has taken a thing before he 
had acquired any right or title thereto. 

If in addition to this unfitness which every man possesses the means 

3f ascertaining, his aim should be to unsettle a general belief closely 

connected with public and private quiet ; and if his language and 

manner be avowedly calculated for the illiterate (and perhaps licentious) 

part of his countrymen ; disgusting as his presumption must appear, it 

is yet lost or evanescent in the close neighbourhood of his guilt. That 

Hobbes translated Homer in English verse and published his translation, 

furnishes no positive evidence of his self-conceit, though it implies a 

great lack of self-knowledge and of acquaintance with the nature of 

poetry. A strong wish often imposes itself on the mind for an actual 

power : the mistake is favoured by the innocent pleasure derived from 

the exercise of versification, perhaps by the approbation of intimates; 

and the candidate asks from more impartial readers that sentence, which 

* Had the author of the Divine Legation reputation of a Svkes and a Lardner, we not 

of Moses more skilfully appropriated his only confirm the' verdict of his indfipendent 

coarse eloquence of abuse, hia customary as- contemporaries, but cease to wonder, tha± 

surances of the idiotcy, both in head a-nd arrogance should render men an object of 

heart, of all his opponents; if he had em- conti.!iipt in many, and of aversion in all m- 

ployed those vigorous arguments of his own stances, when it was capable of hurrying, a 

vehement humour in the defence of truths Christian teacher of equal talents and lea 

acknowledged and reverenced by learned men ing into a slanderous vulgarity, which _ 

jn general ; or if he had confined them to the capes our disgust only when we see the 

names of Chubb, Woolston, and other pre- writers own reputation the sole victim, 

cursors ^f Mr. Thomas Paine; we should But throughout his great work, and the 

perhaps still characterize his mode of coutro- pamphlets in which he supported it, he al- 

versy by its rude violence, but not so often ways seems to write as if he had deemed it a 

have heard his name used, even by those who duty of decorum to publish his fancies on the 

have never read his writings, as a proverbial Mosaic Law as the Law itself was delivered, 

expression of learned arrpgance. But when that is, "in thunders and lightnings ;" or as if 

a novel and doubtful hypothesis of his own he had appUcdto his own book. Instead of the 

formation was the citadel to be defended, and sacred mount, the menace— 7/ter-e ihall not a 

nis mephitic h£^nd-gra^adc^s were thrown lumd toucli, it, but he shall txtrely It U(m*d or 

v/ith the fury of lawless despotism at the fair ilwt through. 

Essay 4. 17 

nature has not enabled liim to anticipate. But when the philosopher of 
Malmeshury waged war with Wallis and the fundamental truths of pure 
geometry, every instance of his gross ignorance and utter misconception 
of the very elements of the science he proposed to confute, furnished an 
unanswerable fact in proof of his high presumption ; and the confident 
and insulting language of the attack leaves the judicious reader in as 
little doubt of his gross arrogance. An illiterate mechanic, who mis- 
taking some disturbance of his nerves for a miraculous call proceeds alone 
to convert a tribe of savages, whose language he can have no natural 
means of acquiring, may have been misled by impulses very different 
from those of high self-opinion ; but the illiterate perpetrator of " The 
Age of Reason," must have bad his very conscience stupified by the 
habitual intoxication of presumptuous arrogance, and his common-sense 
overclouded by the vapours from his heart. 

As long, therefore, as I obtrude no unsupported assertions on my 
readers ; and as long as I state my opinions, and the evidence which 
induced or compelled me to adopt them, with calmness and that 
diffidence in myself, which is by no means incompatible with a firm 
belief in the justness of the opinions themselves ; while I attack no 
man's private life from any cause, and detract from no man's honours in 
his public character, from the truth of his doctrines, or the merits of his 
compositions, without detailing all my reasons and resting the result 
solely on the arguments adduced ; while I moreover explain fully the 
motives of duty, which influenced me in resolving to institute such 
investigation ; while I confine all asperity of censure, and all expressions 
of contempt, to gross violations of truth, honour, and decency, to the 
base corrupter and the detected slanderer ; while I write on no subject 
which T have not studied with my best attention, on no subject which 
my education and acquirements have incapacitated me from properly 
understanding ; and above all, while I approve myself, alike in praise 
and in blame, in close reasoning and in impassioned declamation, a 
steady friend to the two best and surest friends of all men — truth aqd 
honesty ; I will not fear an accusation of either presumption or arro- 
gance from the good and the wise : I shall pity it from the weak, and 
deupjae it from the wicked. 

18 The Friend. 


In eodempectore nullum est honestorum turpiumque consortium : et cogitare optima simii 
ac deUrrima non magis est unius animi quam ejusdem hominis hmum, esse ac malum. 


There is no fellowship of honour and baseness in the same breast ; and to combine tha 
best and the worst designs is no more possible in one mind, than it is for the same man to be 
at the same instant virtuous and vicious. 

Cognitin veritatis om/nia falsa, si modoproferantur.etiam qua prius inaudita erant,et 
dijudicare et subvertere idonea est. AuGnariNus. 

A knowledge of the truth is equal to the task both of discerning and of confuting all false 
assertions and erroneous arguments, though never before met with, if only they may freely 
be brought forward. 

I HAVE said, that my very system compels me to make every fair ap- 
peal to the feeliugs, the imagination, and even the fancy. If these are 
to be withheld from the service of truth, virtue, and happiness, to what 
purpose were they given ? in whose service are they retained ? T have 
indeed considered tlis disproportion of human passions to their ordinary 
objects among the strongest mtc:nal eviderces of our future destination, 
and the attempt to restore them to their rightful claimants the most 
imperious duty and the noblest task of genius. The verbal enuncia- 
tion of this master truth could scarcely be new to me at any period of 
my life since earliest youth; but I well remen.ber the particular time, 
when the words first became more than words to me, when they incor- 
porated with a living conviction, and took their place among the realities 
of my being. On some wide common or open heath, peopled with ant^ 
hills, during some one of the grey cloudy days of late autumn, many of 
my readers may have noticed the effect of a sudden and momentary 
flash of sunshine on all the countless little animals within his view, 
aware too that the selfsame influence was darted co-instantaneously 
over all their swai-ming cities as far as his eye could reach ; may have 
observed, with what a kindly force the gleam stirs and quickens them 
all! and will have experienced no unpleasurable shock of feeling in 
seeing myriads of myriads of living and sentient beings united at the 
same moment in one gay sensation, one joyous activity ! But awful 
indeed is the same appearance in a multitude of rational beings, our 
f3llow-men, in whom too the effect is produced not so much by the eX' 
ternal occasion as from the active quality of their own thoughts. I had 
w^alked from Gottingen in the .year 1799., to witness the arrival of the 
Queen of Prussia, on her visit to tne liaron Von Hartzberg's seat, five 
miles from the university. The spacious outer court of the palace was 
crowded with men and women, a sea of heads, with a number of children 
rising out of it from their fathers' shoulders. After a buzz of two hours' 
expectarion, the avant-courier rodo at full speed into the court. At t3i« 

Essay 5. 19 

loud cracks of his long whip and the trampling of his horse's hoofs, the 
universal shock and thrill of emotion — I have not language to convey 
it — expressed as it was in such manifold looks, gestures, and attitudes, 
yet with one and the same feeling in the eyes of all ! Eecovering from 
the first inevitable contagion of sympathy, I involuntarily exclaimed, 
though in a language to myself alone intelligible, "0 man! ever nobler 
than thy circumstances ! Spread but the mist of obscure feeling over 
any form, and even a woman incapable of blessing or of injury to thee 
shall be welcomed with an intensity of emotion adequate to the reception ' 
of the Kedeemer of the world !" 

To a creature so highly, so fearfully gifted, who, alienated as he is by 
a sorcery scarcely less mysterious than the nature on which it is ex- 
ercised, yet like the fabled son of Jove in the evil day of his sensual 
bewitchment, lifts the spindles and distaffs of Omphale with the arm of 
a giant, truth is self-restoration : for that which is the correlative of 
truth, the existence of absolute life, is the only object which can attract 
toward it the whole depth and mass of his fluctuating being, and alone 
therefore can unite calmness with elevation. But it must be truth 
without alloy and unsophisticated. It is by the agency of indistinct 
conceptions, as the counterfeits of the ideal and transcendent, that evil 
and vanity exercise their tyranny on the feelings of man. The Powers 
of Darkness are politic if not wise; but surely nothing can be more 
irrational in the pretended children of light, than to enlist themselves 
under the banners of truth, and yet rest their hopes on an alliance with 

Among the numerous artifices by which austere trutns are to be 
softened down into palatable falsehoods, and virtue and vice, like the 
atoms of Epicurus, to receive that insensible dinamen which is to make 
them meet each other half way, I have an especial dislike to the ex- 
pression, pious frauds. Piety, indeed, shrinks from the very phrase, as an 
attempt to mix poison with the cup of blessing : while the expediency 
of the measures which this phrase was framed to recommend or palliate, 
appears more and more suspicious, as the range of our experience widens, 
and our acquaintance with the records of history becomes more exten- 
sive and accurate. One of the most seductive arguments of infidelity 
grounds itself on the numerous passages in the works of the Christian 
Fathers, asserting the lawfulness of deceit for a good purpose. That 
the Fathers held, almost without exception, that " wholly without 
breach of duty it is allowai to the teachers and heads of the Christian 
church to employ artifices, to intermix falsehoods with truths, and 
especially to deceive the enemies of the faith, provided only they hereby 
serve the interests of truth and the advantage of mankind,"* is the un- 

• De cecovcrmia patrum. Tntegrum om- tilnis esse, ut dol-os versent, falsa veris inters 
mino Doctoribus et ccetas Christiani antiiti- misceantet imprimis religimishostesfallant, 

20 The Friend, 

willing confession of Ribof. St. Jerome, as is shown by the citations of 
this learned Theologian, boldly attributes this management (fcdsitattm 
dispensativam) even to the Apostles themselves. But why speak I of 
the advantage given to the opponents of Christianity ? Alas ! to this 
doctrine chiefly, and to the practices derived from it, we must attribute 
the utter corruption of the religion itself for so many ages, and even 
now over so large a portion of the civilized world. By a system of 
accommodating truth to falsehood, the pastors of the Church gradually 
changed the life and light of the Gospel into the very superstitions 
which they were commissioned to disperse, and thus paganized 
Christianity in order to christen Paganism. At this very hour Europe 
groans and bleeds in consequence. 

So much in proof and exemplification of the probable expediency of 
pious deception, as suggested by its known and recorded consequences. 
An honest man, however, possesses a clearer light than that of history. 
He knows, that by sacrificing the law of his reason to the maxim of 
pretended prudence, he purchases the sword with the loss of the arm 
that is to wield it. The duties which we owe to our own moral being, 
are the ground and condition of all other duties ; and to set our nature 
at strife with itself for a good purpose, implies the same sort of pru- 
dence, as a priest of Diana would have manifested, who should have 
proposed to dig up the celebrated charcoal foundations of the mighty 
temple of Ephesus, iu order to furnish fuel for the burnt offerings on its 
altars. Truth, virtue, and happiness, may be distinguished from each 
other, but cannot be divided. They subsist by a mutual co-inherence, 
which gives a shadow of divinity even to our human nature. " Will ye 
speak deceitfully for God ?" is a searching (]uestioii, which most affect- 
iiigly represents the grief and impatience of an uncorrupted mind at 
perceiving a good cause defended by ill means ; and assuredly if any' 
temptation can provoke a well-regulated temper to intolerance, it is the 
shameless assertion, that truth and falsehood ai-e indifferent in their own 
natures ; that the former is as often injurious (and therefore criminal) as 
the latter, and the latter on many occasions as beneficial (and conse- 
quently meritorious) as the former. 

I feel it incumbent on me, therefore, to place immediately before my 
readers in the fullest and clearest light, the whole question of moral 
obligation respecting the communication of truth, its extent and condi- 

dvmmodA) veritatis commodis et vtilitati in- words, St. Paul struve to speak inteUigibly, 

sereiant. — I trust, 1 need not add, that the willingly sacrifiitil indifferent things to 

imputation of such principles of action to the matters of importance, and acted courteously 

llrst inspired propagators of Christianity, is as a man, in order to win attention as an 

founded on the gross misconstruction of tiiose Apostle. A traveller prefers for daily ns6 

passages in the writings of St. Paul, in which the coin of the luiion through which he is 

the necessity of employing different ar^u- passing, to bullion or the mintage of his own 

ments to men of different capacities and pre- country : and Is this to justify a succeeding 

judicee, ia lupposed and acceded to. Iv. other traveller in the use of counterfeit coin i 

Essay 5. 21 

tions. I would fain obviate all apprehensions either of any incaution on 
tlie one hand, or of any insincere reserve on the other, by proving that 
the more strictly we adhere to the letter of the moral law in this respect, 
the more completely shall we reconcile the law with prudence; thus 
gecurir;g a purity in the principle without mischief from the practice. I 
would njt, I could not dare, address my countrymen as a friend, if I 
might not justify the assumption of that sacred title by more than mere 
veracity, by open-heartedness, Pleasure, most often delusive, may be 
born of delusion. Pleasure, herself a sorceress, may pitch her tents on 
enchanted ground. But happiness (or, to use a far more accurate as 
well as more comprehensive term, solid well-being) can be built on 
virtue alone, and must of necessity have truth for its foundation. Add 
too the known fact that the meanest of men feels himself insulted by an 
unsuccessful attempt to deceive him ; and hates and despises the man 
who had attempted it. What place then is left in the heart for virtue 
to build on, if in any case we may dare practise on others what we 
should feel as a cruel and contemptuous wrong in our own persons.? 
Every parent possesses the opportunity of observing how deeply children 
resent the injury of a delusion ; and if men laugh at the falsehoods that 
were imposed on themselves during their childhood, it is because they 
are not good and wise enough to contemplate the past in the present, 
and so to produce by a virtuous and thoughtful sensibility that continuity 
in their self-consciousness, which nature has made the law of their animal 
life. Ingratitude, sensuality, and hardness of heart, all flow from this 
source. Men are ungrateful to others only when they have ceased to 
look back on their former selves with joy and tenderness. They exist in 
fragments. Annihilated as to the past, they are dead to the future, or 
seek for the proofs of it everywhere, only not (where alone they can be 
found) in themselves. A contemporary poet has expressed and illustrated 
this sentiment with equal fineness of thought and tenderness of feeling : 

My heart leaps up when I behold 

A rainbow in the sky ! 
So was it, when my life began ; 
So is it now 1 am a man ; 
So let it be, when I grow old, 

Or let me die. 
The child is father of the man, 
And I would wish my days to be 
Bound each to each by natural piety.* — Woedswokth. 

* 1 am informed, that these very lines have assertions of another ? Opinions formed from 

been cited, as a specimen of despicable opinions — what are they, but clouds sailing 

Suerility. So much the worse for the citer. under clouds, which impress shadows upon 
lOt willingly In his presence would I behold 

the sun getting behind our mountains, or Fungum pelle procul, Jnbeo ! nam quid 

listen to a tale of distress or virtue ; I should mihi fungo ? 

be ashamed of the quiet tear on my owd Conveniunt stomacho non minus ista sue. 

cheek. But let the dead bury the deaU; I was always pleased with the motto 

The poet sang for the living. Of what value placed under the figure of the rosemary ia 

indeed, to a sane mind, are the likings or dis- old herbals : 

likings of one man. 5''-mmded on the mere Sue, apage ! Haud tibi spiro. 

22 The Friend. 

Alas ! the pernicious influence of this lax morality extends from the 
nursery and the school to the cabinet and senate. It is a common weak- 
ness with men in power, who have used dissimulation successfully, to 
form a passion for the use of it, dupes to the love of duping ! A pride ia 
flattered by these lies. He who fancies that he must be perpetually 
stooping down to the prejudices of his fellow-creatures, is perpetually re- 
minding and re-assuring himself of his own vast si periority to them. 
But no real greatness can long coexist with deceit. The whole faculties 
of man must be exerted in order to noble energies ; and he who is not 
earnestly sincere, lives in but half his being, self-mutilated, self- 

The latter part of the proposition, which has drawn me into this dis- 
cussion, that, I mean, in which the morality of intentional falsehood is 
asserted, may safely be trusted to the reader's own moral sense. Is it a 
groundless apprehension, that the patrons and admirers of such publica- 
tions may receive the punishment of their indiscretion in the conduct of 
their sons and daughters ? The suspicion of methodism must be expected 
by every man of rank and fortune, who carries his examination respecting 
the books which are to lie on his breakfast-table, farther than to their 
freedom from gross verbal indecencies, and broad avowals of atheism in 
the title-page. For the existence of an intelligent First Cause may be 
ridiculed in the notes of one poem, or placed doubtfully as one of two ot 
three possible hypotheses, in the very opening of another poem, and 
both be considered as works of safe promiscuous reading " virginibua 
puerisque :" and this too by many a father of a family, who would hold 
himself highly culpable in permitting his child to form habits of 
famihar acquaintance with a person of -loose habits, and think it even 
criminal to receive into his house a private tutor without a previous 
inquiry concerning his opinions and principles, as well as his manners 
and outward conduct. How little I am an enemy to free inquiry of the 
boldest kind, and where the authors have differed the most widely from 
my own convictions and the general faith of mankind, provided only 
the inquiry be conducted with that seriousness, which naturally accom- 
panies the love of truth, and that it is evidently intended for the perusal 
of those only, who may be presumed to be capable of weighing the 
arguments, I shall have abundant occasion of proving, in the course of 
this work. Quin ipsa philosopMa talihus e disputation (bus non nisi 
heneficium recipit. Nam si vera proponit homo ingeniosus veritatisque 
amans, nova ad earn accessio fiet : sin falsa, refutatione eorum priares 
tanto mayis stabilientur.* Galilei Syst. Cosm. p. 42. 

*(TrmslaUon) - Moreover philosophy of philosophic insight; but if erroneous posi- 

Itaelf cannot but derive benefit from such dis- tions, the former truths will bv their con- 

cussions. For If a man of genius and a lover futation, be establiihed so much the mow 

of truth brings just positions before the firmly, 
public, there is a fresh accession to the stock 

Essay 5. 23 

The assertion, that truth is often no less dangerous than falsehood, 
i«ounds less offensively at the first hearing, only because it hides its 
deformity in an equivocation, or double meaning of the word truth. 
What may be rightly affirmed of truth, used as synonymous with verbal 
accuracy, is transferred to it in its higher sense of veracity. By verbal 
truth we mean no more than the correspondence of a given fact to given 
words. In moral truth, we involve likewise the intention of the speaker, 
that his words should correspond to his thoughts in the sense in which 
he expects them to be understood by others ; and in this latter import 
we are always supposed to use the word, whenever we speak of truth 
absolutely, or as a possible subject of moral merit or demerit. It is ver- 
bally true, that in the sacred Scriptures it is written : "As is the good, 
so is the sinner, and he that sweareth as he that feareth an oath. A man 
hath no better thing under the sun, than to eat, and to drink, and to be 
merry. For there is one event unto all : the living know they shall die, 
but the dead know not anything, neither have they any more a re- 
ward."* But he who should repeat these words, with this assurance, to 
an ignorant man in the hour of his temptation, lingering at the door of 
the ale-house, or hesitating as to the testimony required of him in the 
court of justice, would, spite of this verbal truth, be a liar, and the mur- 
derer of his brother's conscience. Veracity, therefore, not mere accu- 
racy ; to convey truth, not merely to say it, is the point of duty in dis- 
pute : and the only difficulty in the mind of an honest man arises from 
the doubt, whether more than veracity {i.e. the truth and nothing but 
the truth) is not demanded of him by the law of conscience ; whether it 
does not exact simplicity ; that is, the truth only, and the whole truth. 
If we can solve this difficulty, if we can determine the conditions under 
which the law of universal reason commands the communication of the 
truth independently of consequences altogether, we shall then be enabled 
to judge whether there is any such probability of evil consequences from 
such communication, as can justify the assertion of its occasional crimi- 
nality, as can perplex us in the conception, or disturb us in the perform- 
ance, of our duty. 

The conscience, or effective reason, commands the design of conveying 
an adequate notion of the thing spoken of, when this is practicable ; but 
at all events a right notion, or none at all. A schoolmaster is under 
the necessity of teaching a certain rule in simple arithmetic empirically 
(do so and so, and the sum will always prove true), the necessary truth 
of the rule (i.e. that the rule having been adhered to, the sum must 
always prove true) requiring a knowledge of the higher mathematics for 
its demonstration. He, however, conveys a right notion, thcugh he 
caanot convey the adequate one. 

* Eccles. viil 15,- ix. 2, C. 

24 The Friend. 



/^AdLTTTei 5e t6>' prjWi'w? (|)(oi/eOi/Ta jrav en-o; xal cc Trai/xl 5»;^tf>. Xpr; Sk Kaipov nerpa eiSevox' 
<TO(J>ii)i yap oCtos opos, oi Se efoj KaipoO p^criv p-ovtriicV jreirw^ieVius aetVouo-iv, ou Tropoie- 
Xorrai ev apytfl yvia/j-rii/, alnlv S' (^melius airCriv) exovcri ixiapiw;. 

Heraclitus ojwd Stohceum {Serm. xxxlv., i'd. Lw^rd., p. 216). 

( rroTzsZaiiow.)— General knowledge and ready talent may be of very great benefit, but they 
may likewise be of very great disservice to the possessor. They are bigbly advantageous to 
the man of sound judgment, and dexterous in applying them ; but tbey injure your fluent 
holder-forth on all subjects in all companies It is necessary to know the measures of the 
time and occasion ; for this is the very boundary of wisdom (that by which it Is defined and 
distinguished from mere ability). But he who, without regard to the unfitness of the time 
and the audience, " will soar in the high region of his fancies with his garland and singing 
robes about him," will not acquire the credit of seriousness amidst frivolity, but will be con- 
demned for his silliness, as the greatest idler of the company because the moat vmseasonable. 

THE moral law, it has been shown, permits an inadequate oommuni- 
cation of inisophisticated truth, on the condition that it alone is prac- 
ticable, and binds us to silence when neither is in our power. We must 
first inquire then, What is necessary to constitute, and what may allow- 
ably accompany, a right though inadequate notion ? And secondly, 
what are the circumstances, from which we may deduce the impractica- 
bility of conveying even a right notion ; the presence or absence of which 
circumstances it therefore becomes our duty to ascertain ? In answer to 
the first question, the cons.cience demands : 1. That it should be the 
wish and design of the mind to convey the truth only ; that if, in addi- 
tion to the negative loss implied in its inadequateness, the notion com- 
municated should lead to any positive error, the cause should lie in the 
fault or defect of the recipient, no't of the communicator, whose para- 
mount duty, whose inalienable right it is to preserve his own integrity,* 
the integral character of his own moral being. Self-respect ; the reve- 
rence which he owes to the presence of humanity in the person of his 
neighbour ; the reverential upholding of the faith of man in man ; gra- 
titude for the particular act of confidence ; and religious awe for the 
divine purposes in the gift of language, are duties too sacred and impor- 
tant to be sacrificed to the guesses of an individual, concerning the ad- 

* The best and most forcible sense of a stancy and Humility, the poem ooncludca 

ward is often that which is contained In its with— 

etymology. The author of the poems (" The jjg ^j,^j ^ . ^ 

Synagogue ") frequently affixed to Herbert's The face of God, '^in his reiiRion must 

"Temple," gives the original purport of the H;T,„„,..a ^T,ti,„ , lu u.o .cii^i^/u uiusi 

word integrity in the following Unes (fourth ^J""^'^' ^°'''^''' constant, and humble he. 

Btanza of the eighth poem) :— Having mentioned the name of Herbert, 

Next to sincerity, remember still chfrlvZa^^ ^l 'LT'^^ '^^ Se^tleman, and a 

Thou must resolve upon integrity. of soC of hi , ^ ul *^\ **!? Quanitness 

«od will have all thou hast, thy mind, thy than which nnf, *'^°"g'^t? (°°* o^ ^^ d'c'^o"' 

;,] ' ■' ' ■' than which nothuig can be more pure, manly, 

ThT thoughts thv words thv works and unaffected) has blinded modem readers 

1 by tuouguts, tny words, tny works. ^ the great general merit of his poems, which 

And agam, after some ven;es on Con- are for the mo&t part jxquLsite iu their klua. 

Esmy 6. 26 

vantages to be gained by the breach of them. 2. It is further required 
that the supposed error shall not be such as will pervert or materially 
vitiate the imperfect truth, in communicating which we had unwillingly, 
though not perhaps unwittingly, occasioned it. A barbarian so in- 
structexi in the power and intelligence of the Infinite Being as tt) be left 
wholly ignorant of His moral attributes, would have acquired none but 
erroneous notions even of the former. At the very best, he would gain 
only a theory to satisfy his curiosity with ; but more probably, would 
deduce the behef of a Moloch or a Baal. (For the idea of an irresistible 
invisible Being naturally produces terror in the mind of uninstructed 
aud unprotected man ; and with terror there will be associated what- 
ever has been accustomed to excite it, as anger, vengeance, &c. ; as is 
proved by the mythology of all barbarous nations.) This must be the 
case with all organized truths ; the component parts derive their signifi- 
cance ftom the idea of the whole. Bolingbroke removed love, justice, 
and choice, from power and intelligence, and yet pretended to have left 
unimpaired the conviction of a Deity. He might as consistently have 
paralyzed the optic nerve, and then excused himself by affirming, that 
he had, however, not touched the eye. 

The third condition of a right though inadequate notion is, that the 
error occasioned be greatly outweighed by the importance of the truth 
communicated. The rustic would have little reason to thank the philo* 
sopher, who should give him true conceptions of the folly of believing in 
ghosts, omens, dreams, &c. at the price of abandoning his faith in Pro- 
vidence and in the continued existence of his fellow-creatures after their 
death. The teeth of the old serpent planted by the Cadmuses of French 
literature, under Louis XV. produced a plenteous crop of philosophers 
and truth-trumpeters of this kind, in the reign of his successor. They 
taught many truths, historical, political, physiological, and ecclesiastical, 
and diffused their notions so widelj', that the very ladies and hairdressers 
of Paris became fluent Encyclopaedists ; and the sole price which their 
scholars paid for these treasures of new information, was to believe 
Christianity an imposture, the Scriptures a forgery, the worship (if not 
the belief) of God superstition, hell a fable, heaven a dream, our life 
without Providence, and our death without hope. They became as gods 
as soon as the fruit of this Upas tree of knowledge and liberty had opened 
their eyes to perceive that they were no more than beasts — somewhat 
more cunning perhaps, and abundantly more mischievous. What can 
be conceived more natural than the result, — that self-acknowledged 
beasts should first act, and next suffer themselves to be treated as beasts ? 
We judge by comparison. To exclude the great is to magnify the little. 
The disbelief of essential wisdom and goodness, necessarily prepares the 
imagination for the supremacy of cimning witti malignity. Folly and 
vice have their appropriate religions, as well as virtue and true know- 

26 The Friend. 

ledge ; and iia some way or other fools will dauce round the goldeu 3alf, 
and wicked men beat their timbrels and kettle-drums to 

Moloch, horrid king, besmeared witt blood 
Of human sacrifice and parents' tears. 

My feelings have led me on, and in my illustration I had almost lost 
from my view the subject to be illustrated. One condition yet remains : 
that the error foreseen shall not be of a kind to prevent or impede the 
after acquirement of that knowledge which will remove it. Observe, 
how graciously Nature instructs her human children. She cannot give 
us the knowledge derived from sight without occasioning us at first to 
mistake images of reflection for substances. But the very consequences 
of the delusion lead inevitably to its detection ; and out of the ashes 
of the error rises a new flower of knowledge. We not only see, but are 
enabled to discover by what means we see. So too we are under the 
necessity, in given circumstances, of mistaking a square for a round 
object ; but ere the mistake can have any practical consequences, it is 
not only removed, but in its removal gives us the symbol of a new fact, 
that of distance. In a similar train of thought, though more fancifully, 
I might have elucidated the preceding condition, and have referred our 
nurrying enlighteners and revolutionary amputators to the gentleness of 
nature, in the oak and the beech, the dry foliage of which she pushes 
otf only by the propulsion of the new buds, that supply its place. My 
'nends ! a clothing even of wifchered leaves is better than bareness. 

Having thus determined the nature and coniiitions of a right notion, 
.t remains to determine the circumstances which tend to render the 
communication of it impracticable, and oblige us, of course, to abstain 
from the attempt — oblige us not to convey falsehood under the pretext of 
saying truth. These circumstances it is plain, must consist either in na- 
tural or moral impediments. The former, including the obvious gradations 
Df constitutional insensibility and derangement, preclude all temptation 
to misconduct, as well as all probability of ill consequences from acci- 
dental oversight, on the part of the communicator. Far otherwise is it 
with the impediments from moral causes. These demand all the atten- 
tion and forecast of the genuine lovers of truth in the matter, the man- 
ner, and the time of their communications, public and private ; and these 
are the ordinary materials of the vain and the factious, determine them 
in the choice of their audiences and of their arguments, and to each 
argument give powers not its own. They are distinguishable into two 
Bources, the streams from which, however, must often become confluent, 
viz. hindrances from ignorance (I here use the word in relation to the 
habits of reasoning as well as to the previous knowledge requisite for the 
due comprehension of the subject) and hindrances from predominant 

• See the Author's second l<ay Sermon, 

Essay 6. 27 

From toth ttese the law of cons.-ience comina.nds iis to abstain, be- 
cause such being the ignorance ai-i such the passions of the supposed 
auditors, we ought to deduce the impracticabihty of conveying not oMy 
adequate but even right notions of our own convictions : much less 
does it permit us to avail ourselves of the causes of this impracticability 
in order to procure nominal proselytes, each of whom will have a dif- 
ferent, and all a false, conception of those notions that were to be con- 
veyed for their truth's sake alone. Whatever is (or but for some defect 
in our moral character would have been) foreseen as preventing the 
conveyance of our thoughts, makes the attempt an act of self-contradic- 
tion : and whether the faulty cause exist in our choice of unfit words 
or our choice of unfit auditors, the result is the same and so is the guilt. 
We have voluntarily communicated falsehood. 

Thus (without reference to consequences, if only one short digression 
be excepted) from the sole pi'inciple of self-consistence or moral integrity, 
we have evolv(3d the clue of right reason, which we are bound to follow 
in the communication of truth. Now then we appeal to the judgment 
and experience of the reader, whether he who most faithfully adheres 
to the letter of the law of conscience will not likewise act in strictest 
correspondence to the maxims of prudence and sound policy. I am at 
least unable to recollect a single instance, either in history or in my 
personal experience, of a preponderance ©f injurious consequences from 
the publication of any truth, under the observance of the moral con- 
ditions above stated : much less can I even imagine any case, in which 
truth, as truth, can be pernicious. But if the assertor of the indiiferency 
of truth and falsehood in their own natures, attempt to justify his position 
by confining the word truth, in the first instance, to the correspondence of 
given words to given facts, without reference to the total impression left 
by such words ; what is this more than to assert, that articulated sounds 
are things of moral indifferency ? and that we may relate a fact accurately 
and nevertheless deceive grossly and wickedly ? Blifil related accu- 
rately Tom Jones's riotous joy during his benefactor's illness, only omit- 
ting that, this joy was occasioned by the physician's having pronounced 
him out of danger. Blifil was not the less a liar for being an accurate 
matter-of-fact har. Tell-truths in the service of falsehood we find every- 
where, of various names and various occupations, from the elderly 
young women that discuss the love affairs of their friends and acquaint- 
ances at the village tea-tables, to the anonymous calumniators of literary 
merit in reviews, and the more daring malignants, who dole out dis- 
content, innovation, and panic in political journals : and a most per- 
nicious race of liars they are ! But who ever doubted it ? Why should 
our moral feelings be shocked, and the holiest words with all their 
venerable afaociations be profaned, in order to bring forth a truism? 
But thus it ii) for the most part with the venders of startling paradoxes. 

28 J7t€ Friend. 

In the sense in whici they are to gain for their author the character of 
a bold and original thinker, they are false even to absurdity; and the 
sense in which they are tfue and harmless, conveys so mere a truism, 
that it even borders on nonsense. How often have we heard "the 
rights of man— hurra!— the sovereignty of the people— hurra !" roared 
out by men who, if called upon in another iilace and before another 
audience, to explain themselves, would give to the words a meaning, in 
which the most monarchical of their political opponents would admit 
them to be true, but which would contain nothing new, or strange, or 
stimulant, nothing to flatter the pride or kindle the passions of the 


At pfofanum vulgus lectorum quomodo arcendum est? Librisne nostris jubeamus, ut 
coram indignis obmutescant ? Si Unguis, ut dicitur, emortuls iiiamur, eheu ! ingenium 
quoque nobis emortuum jacet : sin aliter, Minervm secreta crassis ludibriixm dimlgamus, 
et Dianam nostrum impuris hujus saxuli AcUzonibus nudam, proferimus. Respcmdeo : — ad 
incommodUates Jiujusmodi evitandas, nee Greece nee Latins scribere opus est. Sufficiet, 
nos sicca luce ttsos fuisse et strictiore argwmentandi methodo. Sufficiet, innocenter, utilUer 
scripsisse : eventus est apud lectorem. Nuper emptum est a nobis Ciceronianum istud " De 
Officiis," opus quod semper poewe Christiana dignum putabamus. itiriim, ! libeUus fcictui 
fuerat famosissimus. Credisnef Vkn: at qucmxodof Maligno quodam, nescio qutm, 
plena margine et super tergo, annotatum est, et exempUs, calumniis potius, superfoetatum I 
Sic et qui introrsum uritur inftammationes animi vel Catonianis (ne dicam, sacrosanctis) 
paginis accipit. Omni aurd mong, omnibus scriptis mens, ignita vescitur. 

RnDOLPHi LangU Eplst. ad Amicum quemdam Italicum, in quS, Linguae patriae 
et hodiemas usam defendit et eruditis commendat. 

Xec mefoMU, vt in corporibm hominum sic in animis multrplici passione affectis, mMi- 
camenta verborum multis inefficacia visum iri. Sed nee illud quoque me prczterit, ut invi- 
sihilet animorum morbos, sic invisibilia esse remedia. Falsis opinionibus circumventi veris 
sent/mtiis liberandi sunt, ut qui audiendo ceciderant audiendo consurgant. 

Pethabcha. Prefat. in lib. de remed. utriusque fortunae. 

(Translation.) — But how are we to guard against the herd of promiscuous readers ? Can 
we bid our books be silent in the presence of the unworthy ? If we employ what are called 
the dead languages, our own genius, alas ! becomes flat and dead : and if we embody our 
thoughts in the words native to them or in which they were conceived, we divulge the 
secrets of Minerva to the ridicule of blockheads, and expose our Diana to the Actseons of a 
sensual age. I reply: that in order to avoid inconveniences of this kind, we need write 
neither in Greek nor in Latin. It will be enough if we abstain from appealing to the bad pas- 
sions and low appetites, and confine ourselves to a strictly consequent method of reasoning. 
To have written innocently, and for wise purposes, is all that can be required of us : the 
event lies with the reader. I purchased lately Cicero's work, De Officiis, which I had always 
considered as almost worthy of a Christian. To my surprise it had become a most flagrant 
libel. Nay ! but how ? — Some one, I kno-w not who, out of the fruitfulness of his own ma- 
lignity had filled all the margins and other blank spaces with annotations— a true super- 
foBtatlon of examples, that is, of i'alse and slanderous tales ! In like manner, the slave of 
Impure desires will turn the pages of Cato, not to say. Scripture itself, into occasions and 
excitements of wanton imagiuatlonB, There is no wind buj fans a volcano, no work but 
feeds a combustible mind. 

Essay 7. 29 

1 am well aware, that words will appear to many as inefficacious mBdiclnes when ad- 
ministered to minds agitated with manifold passions, as when they are muttered by way ol 
charm over bodily ailments. But neither dues it escape me on the other hand, that, as the 
diseases of the mind are invisible, invisible must the remedies likewise be. Those who have 
been entrapped by false opinions are to be liberated by convincing truths : that thus having 
imbibed the poison through the ear they may receive the antidote by the same chamiel. 

THAT our elder writers to Jeremy Taylor inclusive quoted to excess, it 
would be the very blindness of partiality to deny. More than one 
might be mentioned, whose works might be characterized in the words 
of Milton, as "a paroxysm of citations, pampered metaphors, and 
aphorisming pedantry." On the other hand, it seems to me that we 
now avoid quotations with an anxiety that offends in the contrary 
extreme. Yet it is the beauty and independent worth of the citations 
tar more than their appropriateness which have made Johnson's Dic- 
tionary popular even as a reading book — and the mottos with the 
translations of them are known to add considerably to the value of the 
Spectator. With this conviction I have taken more than common 
pains in the selection of the mottos for The Friend : and of two 
mottos equally appropriate prefer always that from the book which is 
least likely to have come into my readers' hands. For I often please 
myself, with the fancy, now that I may have saved from oblivion 
the only striking passage in a whole volume, and now that I may 
have attracted notice to a writer undeservedly forgotten. If this should 
be attributed to a silly ambition in the display of various reading, I can 
do no more than deny any consciousness of having been so actuated ; 
and for the rest, I must console myself by the reflection, that if it be 
one of the most foolish, it is at the same time one of the most harmless, 
of human vanities. 

The passages prefixed lead at once to the question, which will pro- 
bably have more than once occurred to the reflecting reader of the pre- 
ceding essay. How will these rules apply to the most important mode 
of communication ? to that, in which one man may utter his thoughts 
to myriads of men at the same time, and to myriads of myriads at 
various times and through successions of generations ? How do they apply 
to authors, whose foreknowledge assuredly does not inform them who, ol 
how many, or of what description their readers will be ? How do these 
rules apply to books, which once published, are as likely to fall in the 
way of the inconipetent as of the judicious, and will be fortunate indeed 
if they are not many times looked at through the thick mists of ignor- 
ance, or amid the glare of prej udice and passion ? — We answer in the 
first place, that this is not universally true. The readers are not seldom 
picked and chosen. Eelatjons of certain pretended miracles performed a 
few years ago, at Holywell in consequence of prayers to the Virgin 
Mary, on female servants, and these relations moralized by the old 
Soman Catholic aigumcnt-s without the old Protestant answers, have to 

80 The Friend. 

my knowledge been sold by travelling pedlare in viTlages and farm- 
bouses, not only in a form which placed them within the^ reach of the 
narrowest means, but sold at a price less than their prime cost, and 
doubtless, thrown in occasionally as the make- weight in a bargam of 
pins and stay-tape. Shall I be told, that the publishers and reverend 
authorizers of these base and vulgar delusions had exerted no choice ss 
to the purchasers and readers ? But waiving this, or rather having first 
pointed it out, as an important exception, we further reply : that if the 
author have clearly and rightly established in his own mind the class of 
readers, to which he means to address his communications ; and if both 
in this choice, and in the particulars of the manner and matter of his 
work, he conscientiously observe all the conditions which reason and 
conscience have been shown to dictate, in relation to those for whom 
the work was designed ; he will, in most instances, have effected his: 
design and realized the desired circumscription. The posthumous work 
of Spinoza {Ethica ordine geametrico demonstrata) may, indeed, acci- 
dentally fall into the hands of an incompetent reader. But (not to 
mention, that it is written in a dead language) it will be entirely harm- 
less, because it must needs be utterly unintelligible. I venture to 
assert, that the whole first book. Be Deo, might be read in a literal 
English translation to any congregation in the kingdom, and that no 
individual, who had not been habituated to the strictest and most 
laborious processes of reasoning, would even suspect its orthodoxy or 
piety, however heavily the few who listened would complain of its 
obscurity and want of interest. 

This, it may be objected, is an extreme case. But it is not so for the 
present purpose. We are speaking of the probability of injurious conse- 
quences from the communication of truth. This I have denied, if the 
right means have been adopted, and the necessary conditions adhered to, 
for its actual communication. Now the truths conveyed in a book are 
either evident of themselves, or such as require a train of deductions in 
proof : and the latter will be either such as are authorized and generally 
received, or such as are in opposition to received and authorized 
opinions ; or lastly, truths presented for the appropriate test of examina- 
tion, and still under trial (adhuc sub lite). Of this latter class I affirm, 
that in neither of the three sorts can an instance be brought of a prepon- 
derance of ill consequences, or even of an equilibrium of advantage and 
injury from a work, in which the understanding alone has been appealed 
to, by results fairly deduced from just premises, in terms strictly ap- 
propriate. Alas ! legitimate reasoning is impossible without severe 
thinking, and thinking is neither an easy nor an amusing employment 
The reader, who would follow a close reasoner to the summit and 
absolute p.inciple of any one important subject, has chosen a chamois- 
hunter for his guide. Our guide will, indeed, take us the shortest way. 

Essay 7. 3X 

will save us many a wearisome and perilous waiidering, and warn us ol 
many a mock road that had formerly led himself to the brink of chasms 
and precipices, or at best in an idle circle to the spot from whence ha 
started. But he cannot carry us on his shoulders : we must strain our 
own sinews, as he has strained his ; and make fiim footing on the 
smooth rock for ourselves, by the blood of toil from our own feet. Ex- 
amine the journals of our humane and zealous missionaries in Hin- 
dostan. How often and how feelingly do they describe the difficulty of 
making the simplest chain of reasoning intelligible to the ordinary 
natives : the rapid exhaustion of their whole power of attention, and 
with what pain and distressful effort it is exerted, while it lasts. Yet 
it is among this class, that the hideous practices of self-torture chiefly, 
indeed almost exclusively, prevail. ! if folly were no easier than 
wisdom, it being often so very much more giievous, how certainly 
might not these miserable men be converted to Christianity ? But alas ! 
to swing by hooks passed through the back, or to walk on shoes with 
nails of iron pointed upward on the soles, all this is so much less 
difficult, demands so very inferior an exertion of the will than to think, 
and by thought to gain knowledge and tranquillity ! 

It is not true, that ignorant persons have no notion of the advantages 
of truth and knowledge. They confess, they see, those advantages in 
the conduct, the immunities, and the superior powers of the possessors. 
Were these attainable by pilgrimages the most toilsome, or penances 
the most painful, we should assuredly have as many pilgrims and as 
many self-tormentors in the service of true religion and virtue, as now 
exist under the tyranny of Papal or Brahman superstition. This ineffi- 
cacy of legitimate reason, from the want of fit objects, this its relative 
weakness and how narrow at all times its immediate sphere of action 
must be, is proved to us by the impostors of all professions. What, I 
pray, is their fortress, the rock which is both their quarry and their 
foundation, from which and on which they are built ? The desire oi 
arriving at the end without the effort of thought and will, which are the 
apix)inted means. Let us look backward three or four centuries. Then 
as now the great mass of mankind were governed by the three main 
wishes, the wish for vigour of body, including the absence of painful feel- 
ings : for wealth, or the power of procuring the external conditions of 
bodily enjoyment : these during life — and security from pain, and con- 
tinuance of happiness, after death. Then, as now, men were desirous to 
attain them by some easier means than those of temperance, industry, 
and strict justice. They gladly therefore applied to the priest, who 
couli insure them happiness hereafter without the perfonnance of theii 
duties here ; to the lawyer, who could make money a substitute for a 
right cause ; to the physician, whose medicines promised to take the 
Bting out of the trdl of their sensual indulgences, and let them fondle 

32 The Friend 

and play with vice, as with a charmed serpent ; to tb.e alchemist, whose 
gold-tiucture would enrich them without toil ot economy ; and to tlie 
asti'ologer, from whom they could purchase foresight without knowledge 
wr reflection. The established professions were, without exception, no 
other than licensed modes of witchcraft. The wizards, who would now 
find their due reward in Bridewell, and their appropriate honours in the 
pillory, sat then on episcopal thrones, candidates for saintship, and 
already canonized in the belief of their deluded contemporaries ; while 
the one or two real teachers and discoverers of truth were exj^sed to 
the hazard of fire and faggot, a dungeon the best shrine that was vouch- 
ijafed to a Roger Bacon and a Galileo ! 


Pray, why is it, that people say that men are not such fools now-a-days ag they were In th« 
days of yore? I would faia know, whether you would have us understand by this same 
saying, as indeed you logically may, that formerly men were fools, and in this generation 
are grown wise f How many and what dispositions made them fools ? How many and what 
dispositions were wanting to make 'era wise ? Why were those fools ? How should these 
be wise ? Pray, how came you to know that men were formerly fools ? How did you find 
that they are now wise ? Who made them fools ? Who in Heaven's name made us wise ? 
Who d'ye think are most, those that loved mankind foolish, or those that love It wise ? How 
long has it been wise f How long otherwise ? Whence proceeded the foregoing folly ? Whence 
the following wisdom ? Why did the old folly end now and no later ? Why did the modern 
wisdom begin now and no sooner ,' What were we the worse for the former folly ? What 
the better for the succeeding wisdom ? How should the ancient folly have come to nothing ? 
How should this same new wisdom be started up and established ? Now answer me, an't 
please you ! 

Fb. Rabelais' Preface to his 5th Book. 

MONSTERS and madmen canonized, and GaUl«o blind in a dungeon ! 
It is not so in our times. Heaven be praised, that in this respect, at 
least, we are, if not better, yet better off than our forefathers ! But to what, 
and to whom (under Providence) do we owe the improvement ? To any 
radical change in the moral affections of mankind in general? Perhaps 
the great majority of men are now fully conscious that they are born 
with the God-like faculty of reason, and that it is the business of life 
to develop and apply it ? The Jacob's ladder of truth, let down from 
heaven, with all its numerous rounds, is now the common highway, on 
which we are content to toil upward to the objects of our desires? We 
are ashamed of expecting the end without the means? In order to 
answer these questions in the affirmative, I must have forgotten the 
animal magnetists ; the proeelytcr, of Bi'others and of Joanna Southcote ; 
and some hundred thousand fanatics less original in their creeds, but not 
a whit more rational in their expectations. I must forget the infamous 
empirics, whose advertisements pollute and disgrace all our newspapers, 
and alnwst paper the walls of our cities ; and the vending of whose 

Essay 8, 33 

poisons and poisonous drams (with shame and anguish be it spoken) 
supports a shop in every market-town ! I must forget that other oppro- 
brium of the nation, that mother- vice, the lottery ! I must forget, that a 
numerous class plead prudence for keeping their fellow-men ignorant 
and incapable of intellectual enjoyments, and the revenue for upholding 
such temptations as men so ignorant will not withstand— yes 1 that even 
senators and officers of state hold forth the revenue as a sufficient plea 
for upholding, at every fiftieth door throughout the kingdom, tempta- 
tions to the most pernicious vices, which fill the land with mourning, 
and fit the labouring classes for sedition and religious fanaticism ! Above 
all I must forget the first years of the Fi-eneh RevoluVion, and the mil- 
lions throughout Europe who confidently expected the best and choicest 
results of knowledge and virtue, namely, liberty and universal peace, 
from the votes of a tumultuous assembly — that is, from the mechanical 
agitation of the air in a large room at Paris — and this too in the most 
light, unthinking, sensual and profligate of the European nations, a 
nation, the very phrases of whose language are so composed, that they 
can scarcely si)eak without lying ! — No ! let us not deceive ourselves. 
Like the man who used to pull off his hat with great demonstration of 
respect whenever he spoke of himself, we are fond of styling our own 
the enlightened age : though as Jortin, I think, has wittily remarked, 
the golden age wx)uld be more appropriate. But in spite of our great 
scientific discoveries, for which praise be given to whom the praise is due, 
and in spite of that general indifference to all the truths and all the 
principles of truth that belong to our permanent being, and therefore do 
not lie within the sphere of our senses, (that same indifference which 
makes toleration so easy a virtue with us, and constitutes nine-tenths of 
our pretended illumination,) it still remains the character of the mass of 
mankind to seek for the attainment of their necessary ends by any means 
rather than the appointed ones ; and for this cause only, that the latter 
imply the exertion of the reason and the will. But of all things this de- 
mands the longest apprenticeship, even an apprenticeship from infancy ; 
which is generally neglected, because an excellence, that may and should 
belong to all men, is expected to come to every man of its own accord. 

To whom then do we owe our ameliorated condition ? To the succes- 
aive Few in every age (more indeed in one generation than in another, 
but relatively to the mass of mankind always few) who by the 
intensity and permanence of their action have compensated for 
the limited sphere, within which it is at any one time intelligible ; 
and whose good deeds posterity reverences in their results, though the 
mode in which we repair the inevitable waste of time, and the style of 
Jur additions, too generally furnish a sad proof how little we understand 
the principles. I appeal to the histories of the Jewish, the Grecian, and 
the Koman republics, to the records of the Christian Church, to ths hi»- 


34 The Friend. 

toiy of Europe from the treaty of Westphalia (1648) What do they 
contain but accounts of noble structures raised by the wisdom of the 
few, and gradually undermined by the ignorance and profligacy of the 
many ? If therefore, the deficiency of good, which everywhere surrounds 
us, originate in the geneml unfitness and aversion of men to the process 
of thought, that is, to continuous reasoning, it must surely be absurd to 
apprehend a preponderance of evil from woriis which cannot act at all 
except as far as they call the reasoning faculties into full coexertion with 

Still, however, there are truths so self-evident or so immediately and 
palpably deduced from those that are, or are acknowledged for such, that . 
they are at once intelligible to all men, who possess the common advan- 
tages of the social state ; although by sophistry, by evil habits, by the 
neglect, false jjersuasions, and impostures of an antichristian priesthood 
joined in one conspiracy with the violence of tyrannical governors, the 
understandings of men may become so darkened and their consciences so 
lethargic, that there may arise a necessity for the republication of these 
truths, and this too with a voice of loud alarm and impassioned waru- 
rPxg. Such were the doctrines proclaimed by the first Christians to the 
Pagan world : such were the lightnings flashed by Wicklifl^, Huss, 
Luther, Calvin, Zuinglius, Latimer, &e. across the Papal darkness; and 
such in our own times the agitating truths, with which Thomas Clark- 
son, and his excellent confederates the Quakers, fought and conquered 
the legalized banditti of men-stealers, the numerous and powerful per- 
petrators and advocates of rapine, murder, and (of blacker guilt than 
either) slavery. Truths of this kind being indispensable to man, consi- 
dered as a moral being, are above all expedience, all accidental conse- 
quences ; for as sure as God is holy, and man immortal, there can be no 
evil so great as the ignorance or disregard of them. It is the very mad- 
ness of mock prudence to oppose the removal of a poisoned dish on 
account of the pleasant sauces or nutritious viands which would be lost 
with it! The dish contains destruction to that, for which alone wq 
ought to wish the palate to be gratified, or the body to be nourished. 

The sole condition, therefore, imposed on us by the law of conscience 
in these cases is, that we employ no unworthy and heterogeneous means 
to realize the necessary end ; that we iutrast the event wholly to the 
full and adequate promulgation of the truth, and to those generous afi'ec- 
tions which the constitution of our moral nature has linked to the full 
perception of it. Yet evil may, nay it will be occasioned. Weak men 
may take offence, and wicked men avail themselves of it ; though we 
must not attribute to the promulgation, or to the truth promulgated, all 
the evil, of which wicked men (predetermined, like the wolf in the fable, 
to create some occasion) may chov^se to make it the pretext. But that 
tixere ever was or ever can be a prcponaerance of evil, I defy either thi 

. JEssay 8. 35 

historian to instance ot the philosopher to prove. "Let it flyaway, all 
that chaff of light faith that can fly off at any breath of temptation ; the 
cleaner will the true grain be stored up in the granary of the Lord," we 
dre entitled to say with TertuUian ,* and to exclaim with heroic Luther,t 
" Scandal and offence ! Talk not to me of scandal and offence. Need 
breaks through stone walls, and recks not of scandal. It is my duty to 
spare weak consciences as far as it may be done without hazard of my 
soul. Where not, I must take counsel for my soul, though half or the 
whole world should be scandalized thereby." 

Luther felt and preached and wrote and acted, as beseemed a Luther 
to feel and utter and act. The truths, which had been outraged, he re- 
proclaimed in the spirit of outraged truth, at the behest of his conscience 
and in the service of the God of truth. He did his duty, come good, 
come evil ! and made no question, on which side the preponderance 
would be. In the one scale there was gold, and the impress thereon the 
image and superscription of the Universal Sovereign. In all the wide 
and ever- widening commerce of mind with mind throughout the world, 
it is treason to refuse it. Can this have a counter-weight ? The other 
scale, indeed, might have seemed full up to the very balance-yard ; but 
of what worth and substance were its contents ? Were they capable of 
being counted or weighed against the former ? The conscience, indeed, 
is already violated when to moral good or evil we oppose things 
possessing no moral interest. Even if the conscience dared waive this 
her preventive veto, yet before we could consider the twofold results in 
the relations of loss and gain, it must be known whether their kind is 
the same or equivalent. They must first be valued, and then they may 
be weighed or counted, if they are worth it. But, in the particular case 
at present before us, the loss is contingent and alien ; the gain essential 
and the tree's own natural produce. The gain is permanent, and spreads 
through all times and places ; the loss but temporary, and, owing its very 
being to vice or ignorance, vanishes at the approach of knowledge and 
moral improvement. The gain reaches all good men, belongs to all that 
love light and desire an increase of light : to all and of all times who 
thank Heaven for the gracious dawn, and expect the noon-day ; who 
welcome the first gleams of spring, and sow their fields in confident 
faith of the ripening summer and the rewarding harvest-tide ! But the 
loss is confined to the unenlightened and the prejudiced— say rather, to 
the weak and the prejudiced of a single generation. The prejudices of 
one age are condemned even by the prejudiced of the succeeding ages : 

* Avolent quantum volent palea levis bricht Wsen, und hat keln Aergemlss. Icl^ 

fidet quocunque afflatu tentatlonum ! eo soil der schwachen Gewissen schonen so fern 

purior massa frumenti in horrea domini re- es obne Gefahr meliier Seelen geschehn ma«. 

L„,gtyr Wo nicht, so soil ich meiner Seelen ratben, 

•^ ■ Tektollian. es argere si«J» darau die ganze oder halhe, 

t Aergerniss hin, Aergeiniss her ! Noth Welt. 

36 The Friend. 

for endless are the modes of folly, and the fool joius with the wise ia 
passing sentence on all modes but his own. Who cried out with greater 
horror against the murderers of the Prophets, than those who likewise 
cried out, Crucify Him ! Crucify Him ! — The truth-haters of every 
future generation will call the truth-haters of the preceding ages by their 
true names : for even these the stream of time carries onward. In fine, 
truth considered in itself and in the effects natural to it, may be con- 
ceived as a gentle spring or water-source, warm from the genial eartli, 
and breathing up into the snow-drift that is piled over and around its 
outlet. It turns the obstacle into its own form and character, and as it 
makes its way increases its stream. And should it be arrested in its 
course by a chilling season, it suffers delay, not loss, and waits only for a 
change in the wind to awaken and again roll onwards : — 

I sempUd pasU/H 
Svl Vesolo nevoso 
Fatti curvi e canuti, 
D" alto stupor son micti 
Mirajido alfonte ombroso 
n Po con pochi unwri ; 
Poscia vdendo gli onori 
Dell' uma angusta e stretta, 
Che 'I Adda che'l Tesino 
Soverchia in suo cammino, 
Che wmpio al mar s'affretta 
Che si spuma, e si suona, 
' Che gli si da corona ! * 


(Literal Translation). — The simple shepherds, grown bent and hoary- 
headed on the snowy Vesolo, are mute with deep astonishment, gazing 
in the overshadowed fountain on the Po with his scanty waters ; then 
hearing of the honours of his confined and narrow um, how he receive*^ 
as a sovereign the Adda and the Tesino in his course, how ample he 
hastens on to the sea, how he foams, how mighty his voice, and that to 
him the crown is assigned. 


Great, men have liv'd among uf^-'eads that plaiin'd 

And tongues that utter'd wisdoili — better none. 
* * * » * • , • 
Even so doth Heaven protect us ! 


IN the preceding number I have explained the good, that is, the natural 
consequences of the promulgation to all of truths which all are bound 
to know and to make known. The evils occasioned by jt, with few and 

* I give literal translations of my poetic on the exact sense and order of the words • 
as well as jirose quotations, because the pro- which it is impossible alwuvs to retain iii 
priety of their introduction often depends a metrical version • J " '■^'"" ■ 

Essay 9. 37 

rare exceptions, have their origin in the attempts to suppress or pervert 
it ; in the fury and violence of imposture attacked or undermined in her 
strongholds, or in the extravagances of ignorance and credulity roused 
ft Dm taeir lethargy, and angry at the medicinal disturhance — awakening 
not yet broad awake, and thus blending the monsters of uneasy dreams 
with the real objects, on which the drowsy eye had alternately half- 
opened and closed, again half-opened and again closed. This reaction of 
deceit and superstition, with all the trouble and tumult incident, 1 
would compare to a fire which bursts forth from some stifled and 
fermenting mass on the first admission of light and air. It roars and 
blazes, and converts the already spoilt or damaged stuff with all the 
straw and straw-like matter near it, first into flame and the next 
moment into ashes. The fire dies away, the ashes are scattered on all 
the winds, and what began in worthlessness ends in nothingness. Such 
are the evil, that is, the casual consequences of the same promulgation. 

It argues a narrow or corrupt nature to lose the general and lasting 
consequences of rare and virtuous energy in the brief accidents which 
accompanied its first movements — to set lightly by the emancipation of 
the human reason from a legion of devils, in our complaints and 
lamentations over the loss of a herd of swine ! The Cranmers, Hamp- 
dens, and Sidneys : the counsellors of our Elizabeth, and the friends of 
our other great deliverer, the third William, — is it in vain, that these 
have been our countrymen? Are we not the heirs of their good deeds? 
And what are noble deeds but noble truths realized ? As Protestants, as 
Englishmen, as the inheritors of so ample an estate of might and right, 
an estate so strongly fenced, so richly planted, by the sinewy arms and 
dauntless hearts of our forefathers, we of all others have good cause to 
trust in the truth, yea, to follow its pillar of fire through the darkness 
and the desert, even though its light should but suffice to make u& 
certain of its own presence. If there be elsewhere men jealous of the 
light, who prophesy an excess of evil over good from its manifestation, 
we are entitled to ask them, on what experience they ground their 
bodings ? Our own country bears no traces, our own history contains 
no records, to justify them. From the great seras of national illumina- 
tion we date the commencement of our main national advantages. The 
tangle of delusions, which stifled and distorted the growing tree, have 
been torn away ; the parasite weeds, that fed on its very roots, have 
been plucked up with a salutary violence. To us there remain only 
quiet duties, the constant care, the gradual improvement, the cautious, 
unhazardous labours of the industrious though contented gardener — to 
prune, to engraft, and one by one to remove from its leaves and fresh 
shoots the slug and the caterpillar. But far be it from us to undervalue 
with light and senseless detraction the conscientious hardihood of our 
predecessors, or even to condemn in them that vehemence to which the 

38 The Friend. 

blessings it won for us leave us now neither temptation or pretext. 
That the very terms, with which the bigot or the hireling would blacken 
the first publishers of political and religious truth, are, and deserve to be, 
hateful to us, we owe to the effects of its publication. We antedate 
the feelings in order to criminate the authors of our tranquillity, 
opulence, and security. But let us be aware. EffJcts will not, indeed, 
immediately disappear with their causes ; but neither can they long 
continue without them. If by the reception of truth in the spirit of 
truth, we became what we are ; only by the retention of it in the same 
spirit, can we remain what we are. The narrow seas that form our 
boundaries, what were they in times of old ? The convenient highway 
for Danish and Norman pirates. What are they now? Still but "a 
span of waters." — Yet they roll at the base of the inisled Ararat, on 
which the ark of the hope of Europe and of civilization rested ! 

Even so doth God protect us, if we be 
"Virtuous and wise. Winds blow and waters roU, 
Strength to the brave, and power and deity : 
Yet in themselves are nothing ! One decree 
Spake laws to them, and said that by the soul 
Only the nations shall be great and free ! 



I deny not but that it is of greatest concernment in the church and commonwealth to har» 
a vigilant eye how books demean themselves as well as men. For books are not absolutely 
dead things, but do contain a progeny of life in them to be as active as that soul was whose 
progeny they are. I know they are as lively and as vigorously prodnctive as those fabulous 
dragon's teeth : and being sown np and down may chance to spring up armed men. And 
yet on the other hand, unless wariness be used, as good almost kill a man as kill a good book. 
Many a man lives a burthen to the earth ; but a good book is the precious life-blood of a 
master spirit, embalmed and treacured up on purpose to a life beyond life. — Milton's Speech 
for the Liberty of unlicensed Printing. 

THUS far, then, I have been conducting a cause between an individual 
and his own mind. Proceeding on the conviction, that to man is 
intrusted the nature, not the result of his actions, I have presupposed no 
calculations. I have presumed no foresight. — Introduce no contradiction 
into thy own consciousness. Acting or abstaining from action, 
delivering or withholding thy thoughts, whatsoever thou doest, do it in 
singleness of heart. In ail things, therefore, let thy means correspond to 
thy purpose, and let the purpose be one with the purport. — T» this 
principle I have referred the supposed individual, and from this principle 
solely I have deduced each particular of his conduct. As far, therefore, 
as the court of conscience extends (and in this court alone I have been 
pleading hitherto), I have won the cause. It has been decided, that 
there is no just ground for apprehending mischief from truth com- 
jmunicated conscientiously, (i e. with a strict observance of all the con- 

Essay 10. 39 

ditions required by the conscience) — that waat is not so communicated 
is falsehood, and that to the falsehood, not to the truth, must the ill 
consequences be attributed. 

Another and altogether different cause remains now to be pleaded ; a 
different cause, and in a different court. The parties concerned are no 
longer the well-meaning individual and his conscience, but the citizen 
and the state — the citizen, who may be a fanatic as probably as a 
philosopher, and the state, which concerns itself with the conscience only 
as far as it appears in the action, or still more accurately, in the fact ; 
and which must determine the nature of the fact not merely by a rule of 
right formed from the modification of particular by general consequences, 
not merely by a principle of compromise, that reduces the freedom of 
each citizen to the common measure in which it becomes compatible 
with the freedom of all ; but likewise by the relation which the facts 
bear to its (the state's) own instinctive principle of self-preservation. 
For every depositary of the supreme power must presume itself rightful : 
and as the source of law not legally to be endangered. A form of 
government may indeed, in reality, be most pernicious to the governed, 
and the highest moral honour may await the patriot who risks his life 
in order by its subversion to introduce a better and juster constitution; 
but it would be absurd to blame the law by which his life is declared 
forfeit. It were to expect, that by an involved contradiction the law 
should allow itself not to be law, by allowing the state, of which it is a 
part, not to be a state. For as Hooker has well observed, the law of 
men's actions is one, if they be respected only as men ; and another, 
when they are considered as parts of a body politic. 

But though every government subsisting in law (for pure lawless 
despotism grounding itself wholly on teiTor precludes all consideration 
of duty) — though every government subsisting in law must, and ought 
to, regard itself as the life of the body politic, of which it is the head, 
and consequently must punish every attempt against itself as im act of 
assault or murder, i, e. sedition or treason ; yet still it ought so to 
secure the life as not to prevent the conditions of its growth, and of 
that adaptation to circumstances, without which its very life becomes 
insecure. In the application, therefore, of these principles to the public 
communication of opinions by the most efficient means, the pitiss — we 
have to decide, whether consistently with them there should be any 
liberty of the press ; and if this be answered in the affirmative, what 
shall be declared abuses of that liberty, and made punishable aa 
Buch ; and in what way the general law shall be applied to each par- 
ticular case. 

First then, should there be any liberty of the press ? we will not here 
mean, whether it should be permitted to print books at all (for our essay 
has little chance of being read in Turkey, and in any other part of 

40 The Friend. 

JEurope it cannot be supposed questionable) ; but whether by the apix)in' 
ment of a censorship the government should take upon itself the responsi- 
bility of each particular publication. In governments purely monarchical 
(*. e. oligarchies under one head), the balance of the advantage and dis- 
advantage from this monopoly of the press will undoubtedly be affected 
by the general state of information; though, after reading Milton's 
" Speech for the liberty of unlicensed printing,* " we shall probably be 
inclined to beheve, that the best argument in favour of licensing, &c. 
under any constitution is that which, supposing the ruler to have a 
different interest from that of his country, and even from himself as a- 
reasonable and moral creature, grounds itself on the incompatibility of 
knowledge with folly, oppression, and degradation. What our pro- 
phetic Harrington said of religious, applies equally to literary toleration. 
" If it be said that in France there is liberty of conscience in part, it is 
also plain that while the hierarchy is standing, this liberty is falling, 
and that if on the contrary, it comes to pull down the hierarchy, it 
pulls down that monarchy also : wherefore the monarchy or hierarchy 
will be beforehand with it, if they see their true interest." On the other 
hand, there is no slight danger from general ignorance ; and the only 
choice, which Pi'ovidence has graciously left to a vicious government, is 
either to fall by the people, if they are suffered to become enlightened, 
or with them, if they are kept enslaved and ignorant. 

The nature of our constitution, since the revolution, the state of our 
literature, and the wide diffusion, if not of intellectual yet of literary 
power, and the almost universal interest in the productions of literature, 
have set the question at rest relatively to the British press. Howevef 
great the advantages of previous examination might be under other cir- 
cumstances, in this country it would be both impracticable and inefB- 
cient. I need only suggest in broken sentences — the prodigious number 
of licensers that would be requisite — the variety of their attainments, 
and (inasmuch as the scheme must be made consistent with our reh- 
gious freedom) the ludicrous variety of their principles and creeds — their 
number being so great, and each appointed censor being himself a man 
of letters, quis custodiet ipsos custodesf — If these numerous licensers hold 
their ofloices for life, and independent of the ministry pro tempore, a 
new, heterogeneous, and alarming power is introduced, which can never 
be assimilated to the constitutional powers already existing : — if they are 
removeable at pleasure, that which is heretical and seditious in 1809 
may become orthodox and loyal in 1810 — and what man, whose attain* 
ments and moral Respectability gave him even an endurable claim to 

* II y a un voile qui doit toujours couvrir tout ce que Tonpent dire et tout oe qu'on 
peut crotre dn droit des peuples et de celui des princes, qui ne s'accordent Jamais si biea 
ensemble que dans le silence. — Mem. du Card, de Retz. 

How severe a satire wliere il can be justly applie'd ! how false and calumnious !f meant 
■B a gecsral maxica ! 


■ Essay 10. '41 

this awful trust, would accept a situation at once so invidious and 
BO precarious? And what institution can retain any useful influence 
in so free a nation, when its abuses have made it conteiiptible ?— 
Lastly, and which of itself would suffice to justify the rejection of such 
a plan — unless all proportion between crime and punishment were 
abandoned, what penalties could the law attach to the assumption of a 
liberty, which it had denied, more severe than those which it now 
attaches to the abuse of the liberty, which it grants? In all those 
instances at least, which it would be most the inclination — perhaps the 
duty- — of the state to prevent, namely, in seditious atd incendiary pub^ 
lications (whether actually such, or only such as the existing govern- 
ment chose so to denominate, makes no difference in the argument), the 
publisher, who hazards the punishment now assigned to seditious pub- 
lications, would assuredly hazard the penalties of unlicensed ones, 
especially as the very practice of licensing would naturally diminish the 
attention to the contents of the works published, the chance of impunity 
therefore be so much greater, and the artifice of prefixing an unau- 
thorized license so likely to escape detection. It is a fact, that in many 
of the former German states in which literature flourished, notwith- 
standing the establishment of censors or licensers, three-fourths of the 
books printed were unlicensed —even those, the contents of which were 
unobjectionable, and where the sole motive for evading the law must 
have been either the pride and delicacy of the author, or the indolence 
of the bookseller. So difficult was the detection, so various the means 
of evasion, and worse than all, from the nature of the law and the 
affront it offers to the pride of human nature, such was the merit at- 
tached to the breach of it — a merit commencing perhaps with Luther's 
Bible, and other prohibited works of similar great minds, published 
with no dissimilar purpose, and thence by many an intermediate link 
of association finally connected with books, of the very titles of which a 
good man would wish to remain ignorant. The interdictory catalogues 
of the Koman hierarchy always present to my fancy the muster-rolls of 
the two hostile armies of Michael and of Satan printed promiscuously, 
or extracted at haphazard, save only that the extracts from the former 
appear somewhat the more numerous. And yet even in Naples, and in 
Rome itself, whatever difficulty occurs in procuring any article cata- 
logued in these formidable folios, must arise either from the scarcity of 
the work itself, or the absence of all interest in it. Assuredly there is 
no difficulty in procuring from the most respectable booksellers tho 
vilest provocatives to the basest crimes, though intermixed with 
gross lampoons on the heads of the Church, the religious orders, and on 
religion itself. The stranger is invited into an inner room, and tho 
loathsome wares presented to him with most significant looks and 
gestures, implying the hazard, and the necessity of secrecy. A credit* 

42 The Friend. P 

able English bookseller would deem himself insulted, if such work's 
were even inquired after at his shop. It is a well-known fact, that 
with the mournful exception indeed of political provocatives, and the 
titillations of vulgar envy provided by our anonymous critics, the 
loathsome articles are among us vended and offered for sale almost ex 
clusively by foreigners. Such are the purifying effects of a free press 
and the dignified habit of action imbibed from the blessed air of law 
and liberty, even by men wlio neither understand the principle nor feel 
the sentiment of the dignified purity, to which they yield obeisance 
from the instinct of character. As there is a national guilt which can be 
charged but gently on each individual, so are there national virtues, 
which can as httle be imputed to the individuals, — nowhere, however, 
but in countries where liberty is the presiding influence, the universal 
medium and menstruum of all other excellence, moral and intellectual. 
Admirably doth the admirable Petrarch * admonish us : 

Nee sibi vero quisquam falso persuadeat, cos qui pro libertate excubant, 
alienum agere negotium non suum. In hac und reposita sibi omnia 
ndrint omnes, securitatem mercator, gloriam miles, utilitatem agricola. 
Postremd, in e§,dem libertate religiosi ceerimonias, otium studiosi, requiem 
senes, rudimenta disciplinarum pueri, nuptias et castitatem puellse, 
pudicitiam matronse, pietatem et antiqui laris sacra patres familias, spem 
atque gaudium omnes invenient. Huic uni igitur reliquse cedant curse ! 
Si banc omittitis, in quantalibet occupatione nihil agitis : si huic in- 
cumbitis, et nihil agere videmini, cumulate tamen et civitmi et virorum 
implevistis officia, 

Pethaech^ Hoiia. 

(Translation^ — Nor let any one falsely persuade himself, that those 
who keep watch and ward for hberty, are meddling with things that do 
not concern them, instead of minding their own business. For all men 
should know, that all blessings are stored and protected in this one, as 
in a common repository. Here is the tradesman's security, the soldier's 
honour, the agriculturist's profit. Lastly, in this one good of liberty the 
religious will find the permission of their rites and foi-ms of worship, 
the students their learned leisure, the aged their repose, boys the rudi- 
ments of the several branches of their education, maidens their chaste 
nuptials, matrons their womanly honour and the dignity of their mo- 

• I quote Petrarch often in the hope of To give the true bent to the above extract 

drawing the attention of scholars to his In- it is necessary to bear in mind, that he who 

estimable Latin writings. Let me add, in the keeps watch and ward for freedom, has to 

wish like-vise of recommending a translation ^uard against tw" enemies, the despotism of 

of select passages from his treatises and letters the few and the despotism of the many— ba» 

to the London publishers. If I except the especially in the present day against the 

German writlng.s and original letters of the sycophants of the populace, 

heroic Luther, I do not remember a work Licence they mean, when they cry liberty ! 

from which so delightful and instructive a For who loves that, must first be wise and 

volume might be compiled. good. 

Essay 11. 43 

desty, and fathers of families the dues of natural affection and the sacred 
privileges of their ancient home. To this one solicitude therefore let 
all other cares yield the priority. If you omit this, be occupied as 
much and sedulously as you may, you are doing nothing : if you apply 
your heart and strength to this, though you seem to be doing nothing, 
you will, nevertheless, have been fulfilling the duties of citizens and of 
men, yea, in a measure pressed down and running over. 


Nemo verb fallatur, quasi minora sint animorum contagia quam corporum. Majora smit; 
gravlus Isedunt ; altius descendant, serpuntque latentius. 

Petrakch, de 7it. Solit. L. 1, s. 3, c. 4. 

(jrra»isJation.)^And let no man be deceived as if the contagiona of the soul were less than 
those of the body. They are yet greater ; they convey more direful diseases ; they sink 
deeper, and creep on more unsuspectedly. 

WE have abundant reason then to infer, that the law of England has 
done well and concluded wisely in proceeding on the principle so 
clearly worded by Milton : *' that a book should be as freely admitted into 
the world as any other birth ; and if it prove a monster, who denies but 
that it may justly be burnt or sunk into the sea ?" We have reason 
then, I repeat, to rest satisfied with our laws, which no more prevent a book 
from coming into the world unlicensed, lest it should prove a libel, than 
a traveller from passing unquestioned through our turnpike-gates, be- 
cause it is possible he may bt a highwayman. Innocence is presumed 
in both cases. The publication is a part of the offence, and its necessary 
condition. Words are moral acts, and words deliberately made public 
the law considers in the same light as any other cognizable overt act. 

Here however a difSculty presents itself. Theft, robbery, murder, 
and the like, are easily defined : the degrees and circumstances likewise 
of these and similar actions are definite, and constitute specific offences, 
described and punishable each under its own name. We have only to 
prove the fact and identify the offender. The intention too, in the great 
majority of cases, is so clearly implied in the action, that the law can 
safely adopt it as its universal maxim, that the proof of the malice is 
included in the proof of the fact ; especially as the few occasional ex- 
ceptions have their remedy provided in the prerogative of pardon 
intrusted to the supreme magiscrate. But in the case of libel, the degree 
makes the kind, the circumstances constitute the criminality : and both 
degrees and circumstances, like the ascending shades of colour or the 
shooting hues of a dove's neck, die away into each other, incapable of 
definition or outline. The eye of the understanding, indeed, sees the 
determinate difference in each individual case, but language is most often 
inadequate to express what the eye perceives, much less can a general 

^i4z the Friend. 

statute anticipate and pre-defiue it. Again : in other overt acts a 
charge disproved leaves the defendant either guilty of a different fault, 
or at best simply blameless. A man having killed a fellow-citizen is 
acquitted of murder — the act was manslaughter only, or it was justi- 
. fiable homicide. But when we reverse the iniquitous sentence passed 
pn Algernon Sidney, during our perusal of his work on Government j 
at the moment we deny it to have been a traitorous libel, our beating 
hearts declare it to have been a benefaction to our country, and under 
the circumstances of those times the performance of an heroic duty. 
From this cause therefore, as well as from a libel's being a thing made 
up of degrees and circumstances (and these too discriminating offence 
from merit by such dim and ambulant boundaries), the intention of the 
agent, wherever it can be independently or inclusively ascertained, must 
be allowed a great share in determining the character of the action, 
unless the law is not only to be divorced from moral justice,* but to 
wage open hostility against it. 

Add too, that laws in doubtful points are to be interpreted according 
to the design of the legislator, where this can be certainly inferred. But 
the laws of England, which owe their own present supremacy and abso- 
luteness to the good sense and generous dispositions diffused by the 
press more, far more, than to any other single cause, must needs be 
presumed favourable to its general influence. Even in the penalties 
attached to its abuse, we must suppose the legislature to have been 
'actuated by the desire of preserving its essential privileges. The press 
is indifferently the passive instrument of evil and of good : nay, there is 
some good even in its evil. " Good and evil," says Milton, m the speech 
from which I have selected the motto of the preceding essay, " in the field 
of this world, grow up together almost inseparably : and the knowledge of 
•good is so intervolved and interwoven with the knowledge of evil, and 
■in so many cunning resemblances hardly to be discerned, that those 
■confused seeds which were imposed on Psyche as an incessant labour to 
cull out and sort asunder, were not more intermixed. — As, therefore, 
the state of man now is, what wisdom can there be to choose, what 
continence to forbear, without the knowledge of evil? He that can 
apprehend and consider vice with all her baits and seeming pleasures 
and yet abstain, and yet distinguish, and yet prefer that which is truly 
better, he is the true wayfaring Christian. I cannot praise a fugitive 

and cloistered virtue, that never sallies out and sees her adversary 

that which is but a youngling in the contemplation of evil, and knows 
riot the utmost that vice promises to her followers, and rejects it, is but 
a blank virtue, not a pure.— Since, therefore, the knowledge and survey 
of vice is in this world so necessary to the mnstituting of human virtue, 

• Acoording to tlie ol4 a^age : you are not not be stoien. To wnat extent this is tnift 
tonng for Btealing a borse, but that borseg may we shall have occasion to examine bereaftar. 


^ Ussay 11. 45 

and the scanning of error to the confirmation of truth, how can we more 
safely and with less danger scont into the regions of sin and falsity, 
than by reading all manner of tractates, and hearing all manne'' of 
reason ?" Again — but, indeed the whole treatise is one strain of moral 
wisdom and political prudence — « Why should we then aflect a rigour 
^contrary to the manner of God and of nature, by abridging or scanting 
those means, which books, freely permitted, are both to the trial of 
virtue and the exercise of truth ? It would be better done to learn, 
that the law must needs be frivolous, which goes to restrain things un-^ 
certainly, and yet equally working to good and to evil. And were I 
the chooser, a dram of well-doing should be preferred before many times 
as much the forcible hindrance of evil-doing. For God sure esteems 
the growth and completion of one virtuous person, more than the re- 
straint of ten vicious." 

The evidence of history is strong in favour of the same principles, 
even in respect of their expediency. The average result of the press 
from Henry VIII. to Charles I. was such a diffusion of rehgious light as 
first redeemed and afterwards saved this nation from the spiritual and 
moral death of popery ; and in the following period it is to the press 
that we owe the gradual ascendancy of those wise political maxims, 
which casting philosophic truth in the moulds of national laws, customs, 
and existing orders of society, subverted the tyranny without suspending 
the government, and at length completed the mild and salutary revo- 
lution by the establishment of the house of Brunswick. '^I'o what must 
we attribute this vast overbalance of good in the general effects of the 
press, but to the overbalance of virtuous intention in those who em- 
ploj'ed the press? The law, therefore, will not refuse 1o manifest good 
intention a certain weight even in cases of apparent error, lest it should 
discourage and scare away those, to whose efforts we owe the com para-: 
tive infrequency and weakness of error on the whole. The law may, 
however, nay, it must demand, that the external proofs of the author's 
honest intentions should be supported by the general style and matter 
of his work, and by the circumstances and mode of its publication. A 
passage, which in a grave and regular disquisition would be blameless, 
might become highly libellous and justly punishable if it were applied 
to present measures or jjersons for immediate purposes, in a cheap and 
popular tract. I have seldom felt greater indignation than at finding 
in a large manufactory a sixpenny pamphlet, containing a selection of 
inflammatory paragraphs from the prose-writings of Milton, without a 
hint given of the time, occasion, state of government, &c., under which 
they were written — not a hint, that the freedom, which we now enjoy, 
exceeds all that Milton dared hope for, or deemed practicable ; and that 
his political creed sternly excluded the populace, and indeed the ma- 
jority of the population, from all pretensions to political powei. If the 

M The Friend. 

manifest bad intentioa would constitute this publication a seditious 
libel, a good intention equally manifest cannot justly be denied its share 
of influence in producing a contrary verdict. 

Here then is tiie difficulty. From the very nature of a libel it ia 
impossible so to define it, but that the most meritorious works will be 
found included in the description. Not from any defect or undue 
severity in the particular statute, but from the very nature of the offence 
to be guarded against, a work recommending reform by the only ra- 
tional mode of recommendation, that is, by the detection and exposure 
of corruption, abuse, or incapacity, might, though it should breathe the 
best and most unadulterated English feelings, be brought within the 
definition of libel equally with the vilest incendiary brochure, that ever 
aimed at leading and misleading the multitude. Not a paragraph in 
the Morning Post during the peace of Amiens, (or rather the experi- 
mental truce so called,) though, to the immortal honour of the then 
editor, that newspaper was the chief secondary means of producing the 
unexampled national unanimity, with which the war recommenced and 
has since been continued — not a paragraph warning the nation, as need 
was and most imperious duty commanded, of the perilous designs and 
unsleeping ambition of our neighbour, the mimic and caricaturist of 
Charlemagne, but was a punishable libel. The statute of libel is a vast 
aviary, which encages the awakening cock and the geese whose alarum pre- 
served the Capitol, no less than the babbling magpie and ominous 
screech-owl. And yet will we avoid this seeming injustice, we throw 
down all fence and bulwark of public decency and public opinion ; 
political calumny will soon join hands with private slander; and every 
principle, every feeling, that binds the citizen to his country and the 
spirit to its Creator, will be undermined — not by reasoning, for from 
that thei'e is no danger ; but — by the mere habit of hearing them reviled 
and scoffed at with impunity. Were we to contemplate the evils of a 
rank and unweeded press only in its effect on the manners of a people, 
and on the general tone of thought and conversation, the greater the 
love which we bore to literature and to all the means and instruments 
of human improvement, the greater would be the earnestness with 
which we should solicit the interference of law ; the more anxiously 
should we wish for some Ithuriel spear, that might remove from the ear 
of the public, and expose in their own fiendish shape those reptiles, 
which inspiring venom and forging illusions as they list, 

Thence raise. 
At least distempered discontented thoughts. 
Vain hopes, vain aims, luordlnate desires. 

Paeadise Lost. 

Essay 12. 47 


Qvomodo a'^m idfutionim sU, ne quis ineredibile arhitretur, ostendam. In ptimis muUi- 
pJieaWiMr regnum, et summa rerum potestas per plurimos dissipata et conccsa mimtetur. 
Tunc disccnrdia civiles serentur, nee ulla requies bellis exitialibus erit, dam, exercititnit in 
im/mensum coactis, reges disperdent o-mnia, et Comminuent : donee adversus eos dux potentit- 
simus a plehe orietwr, et assumetur in societatem a caderis, etprinceps omnium constituelw. 
Bic insustentabili dominatione vexabit orhem, divina et humana miscebit : infanda dictu el 
execrabilia molietur -. nova consilia in pectore siw volutabit, ut proprium sibi constituat 
imperium: leges commutabit, et suas sanciet, contaminabit, diripiet, spcUabit, occidet. 
JDenique immutoitis nominibus, et imperii sede translata, confasio ac perturbatio humani 
generis consequetur. Turn, vere detestabile, atque abomina'tidum tempus existet, quo nulU 
iwminum sit vita jucunda. Lactantius, de Vita Beata, Lib. vii., c. 16. 

But lest this should be deemed incredible, 1 will show the manner in which it is to take 
place. First there will be a multiplication of independent sovereignties, and the supreme 
magistracy of the empire, .scattered and cut up into fragments, will be enfeebled in the 
exercise of power by law and authority. Then will be sown the seeds of civil discords, nur 
will there oe any rest or pause to wasteful and ruinous wars, while the soldiery Icept together 
in immense standing arniies, the Kings will crush and lay waste at their will; — until at length 
there wUl rise up against them a most puissant military chieftain oi low birth, who will have 
acceded to him a fellowship with the other Sovereigns of the earth, and will finally be con- 
Btituted the head of all. This man will harass the civilized world with an insupportable 
despotism: he will confound and commix all things spiritual and temporal. He will form 
plans and preparations of the most execrable and sacrilegious nature. He will be for ever 
restlessly turning over new schemes in his imagination, in order that he may fix the imperial 
power over all in his own name and possession. He will change the former laws, he will 
sanction a code of his own, he will contaminate, pillage, lay waste and massacre. At length, 
when he has succeeded in the change of names and titles, and in the transfer of the seat of 
Empire, there will follow a confusion and perturbation of the human race ; then will there 
be for a while an sera of horror and abomination, during which no man will enjoy his life In 

IINTEEPOSE this essay as an historical commenton the Avords " mimic 
aad caricaturist of Charlemagne," as applied to the despot, whom since 
the time that the words were first printed, we have, thank Heaven ! 
succeeded in encaging. The motto contains the most striking instance 
of an uninspired prophecy fulfilled even in its minutiae, that I recollect 
ever to have met with : and it is hoped, that as a curiosity it will re- 
concile my readers to its unusual length. But though my chief motive 
was that of relieving (by the variety of an historical parallel) the series 
of argument on this most important of all subjects, the communicability 
of truth, yet the essay is far from being a digression. Having in the 
preceding number given utterance to quicqiud in rem tarn maleficam 
indignatio dolai^que didarent, concerning the mischiefs of a lawless press, 
I held it an act of justice to give a portrait no less lively of the excess 
to which the remorseless ambition of a government might accumulate 
its oppressions in the one instance before the discovery of printing, and. 
in the other during the suppression of its freedom. 

I have translated the following from a voluminous German work, 
Michael Ignaz Schmidt's History of the Germans, in which this ex- 
tract forms the conclusion of the second chapter of the third book, from 

48 Tlie Friend: 

Charles tlie Great to Conrade the First. The late tyrant's close imita- 
tion of Charlemagne was sufficiently evidenced by his assumption of the 
Iron Crown of Italy ; by his imperial coronation with the presence and 
authority of the Holy Father ; by his imperial robe embroidered with 
bees in order to mark him as a successor of Pepin, and even by his 
ostentatious revocation of Charlemagne's grants to the Bishop of Kome. 
But that the differences might be felt likewise, I prefaced the translation 
here reprinted with the few following observations. 

Let it be remembered then, that Charlemagne, for the greater part, 
created for himself the means of which he availed himself ; that his very 
education was his own work, and that unlike Peter the Great, he could 
find no assistants out of his own realm ; that the unconquerable courage 
and heroic dispositions of the nations he conquered, supplied a proof 
positive of real superiority, indeed the sole positive proof of intellectual 
power in a warrior : for how can we measure force but by the resistance 
to it ? But all was prepared for Buonaparte : Europe weakened in the 
very heart of all human strength, namely, in moral and religious principle, 
and at the same time accidentally destitute of any one great or command- 
ing mind : the French people, on the other hand, still restless from re- 
volutionary fanaticism ; their civic enthusiasm already passed into 
military passion and the ambition of conquest ; and alike by disgust, 
terror, and characteristic unfitness for freedom, ripe for the reception of 
a despotism. Add too, that the main obstacles to an unlimited system 
of conquest, and the pursuit of universal monarchy had been cleared 
away for him by his pioneers the Jacobins, viz., the influence of the 
great landholders, of the privileged and of the commercial classes. Even 
the naval successes of Great Britain, by destroying the trade, rendering 
useless the colonies, and almost annihilating the navy of France, were 
in some respects subservient to his designs by concentrating the powers 
of the French empire in its armies, and supplying them out of the 
wrecks of all other employments, save that of agriculture. France had 
already approximated to the formidable state so prophetically described 
by Sir James Steuart, in his Political Economy, in which the population 
should consist chiefly of soldiers and peasantry : at least the interests of no 
other classes were regarded. The great merit of Buonaparte has been 
that of a skilful steersman, who with his boat in the most violent storm 
still keeps himself on the summit of the waves, which not he, but the 
winds had raised. I will now proceed to my translation. 

" That Charles was an hero, his exploits bear evidence. The subjuga,- 
tion of the Lombards, protected as they were by the Alps, by fortresses 
and fortified towns, by numerous armies, and by a great name ; of the 
Saxons, secured by their savage resoluteness, by an untameable love of 
freedom, by their desert plains and enormous forests, and by their own 
poverty ; the humbling of the Dukes of Bavaria, Aquitania, Bretagne, 

Sssay 12. 49 

•ticl Gascony ; proud of thoir ancestry as well as of thiir ample domains ; 
the almost entire extirpation of the Avars, so lon;j; the terror of Europe ; 
6re assuredly works which demanded a courage and a firmness ol' mind 
such as Charles only possessed. 

" How great his reputation was, and this too beyond the limits of 
Europe, is proved by the embassies sent to him out of Persia, Palestine, 
Mauritania, and even from the Caliphs of Bagdad. If at the present 
day an embassy from the Black or Caspian Sea comes to a prince on the 
Baltic, it is not to be wondered at, since such are now the political rela- 
tions of the four quarters of the world, that a blow which is given to 
any one of them is felt more or less by all the others. Whereas in the 
times of Charlemagne, the inhabitants in one of the known parts of the 
world scarcely knew what was going on in the rest. Nothing but the 
extraordinary, all-piercing report of Charles's exploits could bring this to 
pass. His greatness, which set the world in astonishment, was likewise, 
without doubt, that which begot in the Pope and the Komans the first 
idea of the re-establishment of their empire. 

" It is true, that a number of things united to make Charles a great 
man— favourable circumstances of time, a nation already disciplined to 
warlike habits, a long life, and the consequent acquisition of experience, 
such as no one possessed in his whole realm. Still, however, the prin- 
cipal means of his greatness Charles found in himself. His great mind 
was capable of extending its attention to the greatest multiplicity of 
affairs. In the middle of Saxony he thought on Italy and Spain, and at 
Kome he made provisions for Saxony, Bavaria, and Pannonia. He gave 
audience to the ambassadors of the Greek emperor and other potentates, 
and himself audited the accounts of his own farms, where everything 
was entered even to the number of the eggs. Busy as his mind was, his 
body was not less in one continued state of motion. Charles would see 
into everything himself, and do everything himself, as far as his 
powers extended : and even this it was too, which gave to his under- 
takings such a force and energy. 

" But with all this the government of Charles was the government of 
a conqueror, that is, splendid abroad and fearfully oppressive at liome, 
What a grievance must it not have been for the people that Charles for 
forty years together dragged them now to the Elbe, then to the Ebro, 
after this to the Po, and from thence back again to the Elbe, and this 
not to check an invading enemy, but to make conquests which little 
])rofited the French nation ! This must prove too much, at lengthy for a 
hired soldier : how much more for conscripts, who did not live poly tcf 
fight, but v/bo were fathers of families, citizens, and proprietors? But 
above all, it is to be wondered at, that a nation like the French, should 
suffer themselves to be used as Charles used them, B«t the people no 
longer possessed any considerable share of inflwwe, AH depended on 


50 2%0 Friend. 

the great chieftains, who gave their willing suffrage for endless wars, by 
which they were always sure to win. They found the Lest opportunity, 
under such circumstances, to make themselves great and mighty at the 
expence of the freemen resident within the circle of their baronial courts ; 
and when conquests were made, it was far more for their advantage than 
that of the monarchy. In the conquered provinces there was a necessity 
for dukes, vassal kings, and different high offices : all this fell to their share. 

" I would not say this if we did not possess incontrovertible original 
documents of those times, which prove clearly to us that Charles's 
government was an unhappy one for the people, and that this great man, 
by his actions, laboured to the direct subversion of his first principles. 
It was his first pretext to establish a greater equality among the mem- 
bers of his vast community, and to make all free and equal subjects 
under a common sovereign. And from the necessity occasioned by con- 
tinual war, the exact contrary took place. Nothing gives us a better 
notion of the interior state of the French monarchy, than the third 
capitular of the year 811.* All is full of complaint, the Bishops and 
Earls clamouring against the freeholders, and these in their turn against 
the Bishops and Earls. And in truth the freeholders had no small 
reason to be discontented and to resist, as far as they dared, evai the 
imperial levies. A dependant must be content to follow his lord with- 
out further questioning : for he was paid for it. But a free citizen, who 
lived wholly on his own property, might reasonably object to suffer him- 
self to be dragged about in all quarters of the world, at the fancies of his 
lord : especially as there was so much injustice intermixed. Those who 
gave up their properties entirely, or in part, of their own accord, were 
left undisturbed at home, while those who refused to do this, were 
forced so often into service, that at length, becoming impoverished, they 
were compelled by want to give up, or dispose of their free tenures to 
the Bishops or Earls. f 

" It almost surpasses belief to what a height, at length, the aversion to 
war rose in the French nation, from the multitude of the campaigns and 
the grievances connected with them. The national vanity was now 
satiated by the frequency of victories ; and the plunder which fell to 
the lot of individuals, made but a poor compensation for the losses and 
burthens sustained by their families at home. Some, in order to become 
exempt from military service, sought for menial employments in the 
establishments of the Bishops, Abbots, Abbesses, and Earls. Others 
made over their free property to become tenants at will of such Lords, 
fts from their age or other circumstances, they thought would be called 
to no further military services. Others, even privately took away the 

• Compare with this the four or five discover parallels, or at least, equivalent 

quarto vols, of the present French Conscript hardships to these, in the treatment of, and 

Code. regulations concerning the reluctant con- 

f it would require no great Ingenuity to script*. 

Essay 12. 51 

life of their mothers, aunts, or other of their relatives, iti order that no 
family residents might remain through whom their names might be 
known, and themselves traced ; others voluntarily made slaves of them- 
selves, in order thus to render themselves incapable of the military 

When this extract was first published, namely, September 7, 1809, 1 
prefixed the following sentence. " This passage contains so much 
matter for political anticipation and well-grounded hope, that I feel no 
apprehension of the reader's being dissatisfied with its length." I trust, 
that I may derive the same confidence from his genial exultation, as a 
Christian ; and from his honest pride as a Briton ; in the retrospect of 
its completion. In this belief I venture to conclude the essay with the 
following extract from a " Comparison of the French Eepublic, under 
Buonaparte, with the Roman Empire under the first Caesars," published 
by me in the Morning Post, Tuesday, 21 Sept., 1802. 

"If then there be no counterpoise of dissimilar circumstances, the 
,. prospect is gloomy indeed. The commencement of the public 
slavery in Rome was in the most splendid sera, of human genius. Any 
unusually flourishing period of the arts and sciences in any country is, 
even to this day, called the Augustan age of that country. The Roman 
poets, the Roman historians, the Roman orators, rivalled those of Greece ; 
in mihtary tactics, in machinery, in all the conveniences of private life, 
the Romans greatly surpassed the Greeks. With few exceptions, all the 
omperors, even the worst of them, were, like Buonaparte,* the liberal 
encouragers of all great public works, and of every species of public 
merit not connected with the assertion of political freedom. 

' O Juvenes, circumspicit et agltat vos, 
Materiainque slbi Ducis indulgentia quarit.' 

" It is even so, at this present moment, in France. Yet, both in Frai»ce 
and in Rome, we have learned, that the most abject dispositions to 
slavery rapidly trod on the heels of the most outrageous fanaticism for 
an almost anarchical liberty. Buere in servitium patres et populum^ 
Peace and the coadunation of all the civilised provinces of the earth 
were the grand and plausible pretexts of Roman despotism : the dege- 

• Imitators succeed better in copying the mangled in a most libellous work of Aulas 

vices than the excellences of their archetypes. Csecina, and he had been grossly lampooned 

WTiere shall we find In the First Consul of in some verses by Pitholaus ; but he bore 

France a counterpart to the generous and both with the temper of a good citizen." 

dreadless clemency of the first Csesar ? For this part of the First Consul's charne- 

Acerbe loquentibas satis habuit pro concione ter, if common report speaks the truth, wa 

denunclare, ne perseverarent. Aulique must seek a parallel in the dispositions, of the 

Caecinte crimlnosissimo libro, et Rtholai third Caesar, who dreaded the pen of a para- 

carminlbus maledicentlssimis laceratam ex- graph writer, hinting aught against hjsmoraU 

istlmationenji suam civili anlmo tulit. and measures, with as great anxiety, and 

it deserves translation for our English with aa vindictive feelings, as if it had been 

readers. " Jf any spoke bitterly against him, the dagger of an assassin lifted up against 

he held it sufficient to complain of it publicly, his life. From the third Caaar, too, h« 

to prevent ihem from persevering in the use adopted the abrogAiion of all |!opul«r ele«. 

Of sucli lai>jtuage Uis character had been tioos. 


S2 The Friend. 

neracy of the human species itself, in all the nations bo blended, waa thi ' 
melancholy effect. To-morrow, therefore, we shall endeavour to detect 
all those points and circumstances of dissimilarity, which, though they 
cannot impeach the rectitude of the parallel, for the present, may yet 
render it probable, that as the same Constitution of Government has been 
built up in Prance with incomparably greater rapidity, so it may havo 
an incomparably shorter duration. We are not conscious of any feelings 
of bitterness towards the First Consul ; or, if any, only that venial 
prejudice, which naturally results from the having hoped proudly of any 
individual, and the having been miserably disappointed. But we will 
not voluntarily cease to think freely and speak openly. We owe grateful 
hearts and uplifted hands of thanksgiving to the Divine Providence, 
that there is yet one European country (and that country our own) in 
which the actions of public men may be boldly analysed, and the result 
publicly stated. And let the Chief Consul, who professes in all things 
to follow his fate, learn to submit to it, if he finds that it is still his fate 
to struggle with the spirit of English freedom, and the virtues which are 
the offspring of that spirit ! If he finds that the genius of Great Britain, 
which blew up his Egyptian navy into the air, and blighted his Syrian 
laurels, still follows him with a calm and dreadful eye ; and in peace, 
equally as in war, still watches for that liberty, in which alone the 
genius of our isle lives, and moves, and has its being ; and which beir^ 
lost, all our commercial and naval greatness would instantly languisHj 
like a flower, the root of which had been silently eaten away by a worm ; 
and without which, in any country, the public festivals, and pompou* 
merriments of a nation present no other spectacle to the eye cf reason, 
than a mob of maniacs dancing in their fetters." 


Must there be still some discord mixed among 
The harmony of men, whose mood accords 
Best with contention tuned to notes of wrong? 
That when war fails, peace must make war with wciOtt 
With words unto destruction armed more strong 
Than ever were our foreign foemcn's swords .- 
Making as deep, though not yet bleeding wounds f 
What war left scarless, calumny confounds. 

Truth lies entrapped where cunning finds no bar • 
Smee no proportion can there be betwixt 
Our actions which in endless motions are, 
Aixd .oilidiiiances which are always fixt 
Tan thoiusanri laws more cannot reach so far 
itat:majiice goes beyond, or lives commix t 
fio.uloEe wjrtto goodness, that it ever will, 
CoTTupi^,. disguise, or counterfeit it stiU, 

Egsay 13. 63 

And therefore would our glorious Alfred, who ... 
Joined with the King's the good man's Majesty, 
Not leave law's labyrinth without a clu&--- 
Gave to deep skill its just authority, — 

But the last Judgment (this his jury's plan) 
Left to the natural sense of worK»day man. 

Adapted from an elder Poet. 

WE recur to the dilemma stated in our eighth number. How shall we 
solve this problem ? Its solution is to be found in that spirit which, 
like the universal menstruum sought for by the old alchemists, can 
blend and harmonize the most discordant elements — it is to be found in 
the spirit of a rational freedom diffused and become national, in the 
consequent influence and control of pubUc opinion, and in its most 
precious organ, the jury. It is to be found, wherever juries are 
sufficiently enlightened to perceive the difference, and to comprehend 
the origin and necessity of the difference, between libels and other 
criminal overt-acts, and are sufficiently independent to act upon the 
conviction, that in a charge of libel, the degree, the circumstances, and 
the intention, constitute (not merely modify) the offence, give it its 
being, and determine its legal name. The words "maliciously and 
advisedly," must here have a force of their own, and a proof of their 
own. They will consequently consider the written law as a blank 
power provided for the punishment of the offender, not as a light by 
which they are to determine and discriminate the offence. The un- 
derstanding and conscience of the jury are the judges in ioto: the 
statute a blank conge dC dire. The statute is the clay and those the 
potter's wheel. Shame fall on that man, who shall labour to confound 
what reason and nature have put asunder, and who at once, as far as in: 
him lies, would render the press ineffectual and the law odious ; who 
would lock up the main river, the Thames of our intellectual commerce; 
would throw a bar across the stream, that must render its navigation 
dangerous or partial, using as his materials the very banks that were 
intended to deepen its channel and guard against its inundations! 
Shame fall on him, and a participation of the infamy of those, who 
misled an English jury to the murder of Algernon Sidney ! 

But though the virtuous intention of the writer must be allowed a 
certain influence in facilitating his acquittal, the degree of his moral 
guilt is not the true index or mete-wand of his coudepanation. For 
iuries do not sit in a court of conscience, but of law ; they are not the 
representatives of religion, but the guardians of external tranquillity. 
The leading principle, the Pole Star, of the judgment in its decision 
concerning the libellous nature of a published writing, is its more or less 
remote connection with after overt-acts, as the cause or occasion of the 
same. Thus the publication of actual facts may be, and most often will 

M The Friend. 

be, criminal and libellous, when directed against private cbaracters : not 
only because the charge will reach the minds of many who cannot be 
competent judges of the truth or falsehood of facts to which themselves 
were not witnesses, against a man whom they do not know, or at beat 
know imperfectly ; but because such a publication is of itself a very 
serious overt-act, by which the author, without authority and without 
trial, has inflicted punishment on a fellow-subject, himself being witness 
and jury, judge and executioner. Of such publications there can be no 
legal justification, though the wrong may be palliated by the circum- 
stance that the injurious charges are not only true but wholly out of the 
reach of the law. But in libels on the government there are two things 
to be balanced against each other: first, the incomparably greater 
mischief of the overt-acts, supposing them actually occasioned by the ' 
libel — (as for instance, the subversion of government and property, if 
the principles taught by Thomas Paine had been realized, or if even an 
attempt had been made to realize them, by the many thousands of his 
readers) ; and second, the very great improbability that such effects will 
be produced by such writings. Government concerns all generally, and 
no one in particular. The facts are commonly as well known to the 
readers as to the writer, and falsehood therefore easily detected. It is 
proved, likewise, by experience, that the frequency of open political dis- 
cussion, with all its blameable indiscretions, indisposes a nation to overt- ' 
acts of practical sedition or conspiracy. They talk ill, said Charles the 
Fifth, of his Belgian provinces, but they suffer so much the better for it. 
His successor thought differently : he determined to be master of their 
words and opinions, as well as of their actions, and in consequence lost 
one half of those provinces, and retained the other half at an expense of 
strength and treasure greater than the original worth of the whole. An 
enlightened jury, therefore, will require proofs of some more than 
ordinary malignity of intention, as furnished by the style, price, mode of 
circulation, and so forth ; or of punishable indiscretion arising out of the 
state of the times, as of dearth, for instance, or of whatever other 
calamity is likely to render the lower classes turbulent and apt to be 
alienated from the government of their country. For the absence of a 
right disposition of mind must be considered both in law and in morals, 
as nearly equivalent to the presence of a wrong disposition. Under such 
circumstances the legal paradox, that a libel may be the more a libel 
for being true, becomes strictly just, and as such ought to be acted 

Concerning the right of punishing by law the authors of heretical ot 
deistical writings, I reserve my remarks for a future Essay, in which I 
hope to state the grounds and hmits of toleration more accurately than 
they seem to me to have been hitherto traced. There is one maxim, 
however, which I am tempted to seize as it passes across me. If I may 


Essay 13. 55 

trust my own memory, it is indeed a very old ruth : and yet if the 
fashion of acting in apparent ignorance thereof be any presumption of its 
novelty, it ought to be new, or at least have become so by courtesy of 
oblivion. It is this : that as far as human practice can realize the sharp 
limits and exclusive proprieties of science, law and religion should be 
kept distinct. There is, strictly speaking, no proper opposition but 
between the two polar forces of one and the same power.* If I say then, 
that law and religion are natural opposites, and that the latter is the 
requisite counterpoise of the former, let it not be interpreted, as if I had 
declared them to be contraries. The law has rightfully invested the 
creditor with the power of arresting and imprisoning an insolvent debtor ; 
the farmer with the power of transporting, mediately at least, the 
pillagers of his hedges and copses ; but the law does not compel him to 
exercise that power, while it will often happen, that religion commands 
him to forego it. Nay, so well was this understood by our grandfathers, 
that a man who squares his conscience by the law was a common para- 
phrase or synonyme of a wretch without any conscience at all. We 
have all of us learnt from history, that there was a long and dark period 
during which the powers and the aims of law were usurped in the name 
of religion by the clergy and the courts spiritual : and we all know 
the result. Law and religion thus interpenetrating neutralized each 
other ; and the baleful product, or tertium aliqvAd, of this union re- 
tarded the civilization of Europe for centuries. Law splintered into the 
minutiae of religion, whose awful function and prerogative it is to take 
acccount of every " idle word," became a busy and inquisitorial tyranny : 
and religion substituting legal terrors for the ennobling influences of 
•e*Hiscience remained religion in name only. The present age appears to 
me approaching fast to a similar usurpation of the functions of religion 
by law : and if it were required, I should not want strong presumptive 
proofs in favour of this opinion, whether I sought for them in the charges 
from the bench concerning wrongs, to which religion denounces the 
fearful penalties of guilt, but for which the law of the land assigns 
damages only : or in sundry statutes, and (all praise to the late Mr. 

• Every power in nature and In spirit thesis. Thus water Is neither oxygen nor 

must evolve an opposite, as the sole means hydrogen, nor yet is it a commixture of 

and condition of its manifestation : and all both ; but the synthesis or indifference of the 

opposition is a tendency to reunion. This two : and as long as the copula endures, by 

is the universal law of polarity or essential which it becomes water, or rather which 

dualism, first promulgated by Heraclilus, alone is water, it is not less a simple body 

2000 years afterwards republished, and made than either of the imaginary elements, im- 

the foundation both of logic, of physics, and properly called Its ingredients or components. 

of metaphysics by Giordano Bruno. The It is the object of the mechanical atomistic 

principle may be thus expressed. The philosophy to confound synthesis with syn- 

identity of thesis and antithesis is the sub- artesis, or rather with mere jtixtaposiiion of 

stance of all being ; their opposition the corpuscles separated by invisible interspaces, 

condition of all existence, or being mani- J find it difficult to determine, whether this 

fested ; and avery thing or pbaenonienon is theory contradicts the reason or the senses 

the exponent of a synthesis as long as the most ; for it is auke iioonceivable and ua- 

opposite energies are retainei ia that syii- imaginable. 

M The Friend. 

Wyndham, Somanorum ultimo) ia a still greater number of attempts 
towards new statutes, the authors of which displayed the most pitiable 
ignorance, not merely of the distinction between perfected and im- 
perfected obligations, but even of that still more sacred distinction 
between things and persons. What the Son of Sirach advises con- 
cerning the soul, every senator should apply to his legislative capacity 
— reverence it in meekness, knowing how feeble and how mighty a 
thing it is ! 

From this hint concerning toleration, we may pass by an easy tran- 
sition to the, perhaps, still more interesting subject of tolerance. And 
here I fully coincide with Frederic H. Jacobi, that the only true spirit 
of tolerance consists in our conscientious toleration of each other's intor 
lerance. Whatever pretends to be more than this, is either the un- 
thinking cant of fashion, or the soul-palsying narcotic of moral and 
religious indifference. All of us without exception, in the same mode 
though not in the same degree, are necessarily subjected to the risk of 
mistaking positive opinions for certainty and clear insight. From this 
yoke we cannot free ourselves, but by ceasing to be men ; and this, too, 
not in order to transcend but to sink below our human nature. For if in 
one point of view it be the mulct of our fall, and of the corruption of 
our will ; it is equally true, that contemplated from another point, it is 
the price and consequence of our progressiveness. To him who is 
compelled to pace to and fro within the high walls and in the narrow 
court-yard of a prison, all objects may appear clear and distinct. It is 
the traveller journeying onward, full of heart and hope, with an ever- 
varying horizon, on the boundless plain, that ia liable to mistake clouds 
for mountains, and the mirage of drought for an expanse of refreshing 

But notwithstanding this deep conviction of our general fallibility^ 
and the most vivid recollection of my own, I dare avow with the German 
philosopher, that as far as opinions, and not motives; principles, and 
not men, are concerned ; I neither am tolerant, nor wish to be regarded 
as such. According to my judgment, it is mere ostentation, or a poor 
trick that hypocrisy plays with the cards of nonsense, when a man 
makes protestation of being perfectly tolerant in respect of all princi- 
ples, opinions, and persuasions, those alone excepted which render the 
holders intolerant. For he either means to say by this, that he is 
utterly indifferent towards all truth, and finds nothing so insufferable as 
the persuasion of there being acy such mighty value or importance 
attached to the possession of the Truth as should give a marked 
preference to any one conviction above any other ; or else he means 
nothing, and amuses himself with articulating the pulses of the air 
instead of inhaling it in the moi-e healthful and profitable exercise of 
yawning. That which doth not withstand hath itself no standing 

Essay VS. ST. 

place. Tc fill a station is to exclude or repel others, — and this is not 
less the definition of moral, than of material, solidity. We live by 
continued acts of defence, that involve a sort of offensive warfare. But 
a man's principles, on which he grounds his hope and his faith, are 
the life of his life. We live by faith, says the philosophic Apostle ; and 
faith without principles is but a flattering phrase for wilful positive- 
ness, or fanatical bodily sensation. Well, and of good right therefore, 
do we maintain with more 7.eal, than we should defend body or estate, a 
deep and inward conviction, which is as the moon to us ; and like the 
moon with all its massy shadows and deceptive gleams, it yet lights us 
on our way, poor travellers as we are, and benighted pilgrims. With all 
its spots and changes and temporary eclipses, with all its vain halos 
and bedimming vapours, it yet reflects the light that is to rise on us, 
which even now is rising, though intercepted from our immediate view 
by the mountains that enclose and frown over the vale of our mortal 

This again is the mystery and the dignity of our human nature, that 
we cannot give up our reason, without giving up at the same time our 
individual personality. For that must appear to each man to be hia 
reason which produces in him the highest sense of certainty ; and yet it 
is not reason, except as far as it is of universal validity and obliga- 
tory on all mankind. There is one heart for the whole mighty mass of 
humanity, and every pulse in each particular vessel strives to beat in 
concert witi it. He who asserts that truth is of no importance except 
in the sense of sincerity, confounds sense with madness, and the word of 
God with a dream. If the power of reasoning be the gift of the Supreme 
Reason, that we be sedulous, yea, and militant in the endeavour to rtason 
aright, is His implied command. But what is of permanent and 
essential interest to one man must needs be so to all, in proportion to the 
means and opportunities of each. Woe to him by whom these are 
neglected, and double woe to him by whom they are withheld ; for he 
robs at once himself and his neighbour. That man's soul is not dear to 
himself, to whom the souls of his brethren are not dear. As far as they 
can be influenced by him, they are parts and properties of his own soui; 
their faith his faith, their errors his burthen, tlieir righteousness and bliss 
his righteousness and his reward — and of their guilt and misery his own 
will be the echo. As much as I love my fellow-men, so much and no 
more will I be intolerant of their heresies and unbelief — and I will 
honour and hold forth the right hand of fellowship to evtTV individual 
who is equally intolerant of that which he conceives such in me. — We 
will both exclaim — I know not what antidotes among the complex 
views, impulses, and cii'cumstances, that form your moral being, God's 
gracious Providence may have vouchsafed to you against the serpen* 
fan"- of this error — but it is a viper, ^nd its poison deadly, although 

58' The Friend. 


through higher influences some men may take thf eptile to their bosom, 
and remain unstung. 

lu one of those viperous journals, which deal out profaneness, hate, 
fury, and sedition throughout the land, I read the following paragraph. 
" The Brahman believes that every man will be saved in his own 
persuasion, and that all religions are equally pleasing to the God of all. 
The Christian confines salvation to the believer in his own Vedas and 
Shasters. Which is the more humane and philosophic creed of the 
two?" Let question answer question. Self-complacent scoffer ! Whom 
meanest thou by God ? The God of truth ? and can He be pleased with 
falsehood and the debasement or utter suspension of the reason which 
He gave to man that He might receive from him the sacrifice of truth? 
Or the God of love and mercy ? And can He be pleased with the blood 
of thousands poured out under the wheels of Jaggernaut, or with the 
shrieks of children offered up as fire-offerings to Baal or to Moloch ? Or 
dost thou mean the God of holiness and infinite purity ? and can He be 
pleased with abominations unutterable and more than brutal defilements ? 
and equally pleased too as with that religion, which commands us that 
we have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness but to 
reprove them ? With that religion, which strikes the fear of the Most 
High so deeply, and the sense of the exceeding sinfulness of sin so 
inwardly, that the Believer anxiously inquires : " Shall I give my 
first-born for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my 
soul?" — and which makes answer to him : — "He hath shewed thee, 
man, what is good ; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to 
do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God."* 
But I check myself. It is at once folly and profanation of truth, to 
reason with the man whe can place before his eyes a minister of the 
Gospel directing the eye of the widow from the corpse of her husband 
upward to his and her Kedeemer (the God of the living and not of the 
dead), and then the remorseless Brahmin goading on the diseonsolate 
victim to the flames of her husband's funeral pile, abandoned by, and 
abandoning, the helpless pledges of their love — and yet dare ask, which is 
the more humane and philosophic creed of the two ? No ! No ! when 
such opinious are m question I neither am, or will be, or Wish to ba 
rvesj^nded as, tolerant. 

• Micah vl. 7, 8. 

u. m 


Knowing the heart of man is set to be 
The centre of this world, about the which 
These revolutions of disturbances 
Still roll ; where all th' aspects of miseiy 
Predominate ; whose strong effects are such, 
As he must bear, being powerless to redress : 
And that unless above himself he can 
Erect himself, how poor a thing is Man ! 

IHAVE thus endeavoured, with an anxiety which may perhaps have 
misled me into prolixity, to detail and ground the conditions under 
which the communication of truth is commanded or forbidden to us as 
individuals, by our conscience ; and those too, under which it is 
permissible by the law which controls our conduct as members of the 
state. But is the subject of sufficient importance to desei-ve so minute 
an examination ? that my readers would look round the world, as it 
now is, and make to themselves a faithful catalogue of its many 
miseries ! From what do these proceed, and on what do they depend 
for their continuance ? Assuredly for the greater part on the actions of 
men, and those again on the want of a vital principle of action. We 
live by faith. The essence of virtue consists in the principle. And the 
reality of this, as well as its importance, is believed by all men in fact, 
few as there may be who bring the truth forward into the light of distinct 
consciousness. Yet all men feel, and at times acknowledge to themselves, 
the true cause of their misery. There is no man so base, but that at 
some time or other, and in some way or other, he admits that he is not 
what he ought to be, though by a curious art of self-delusion, by an 
eflfort to keep at peace with himself as long and as much as possible, he 
will throw off the blame from the amenable part of his nature, his 
moral principle, to that which is independent of his will, namely, the 
degree of his intellectual faculties. Hence, for once that a man exclaims. 
How dishonest I am, on what base and unworthy motives I act ! we may 
iear a Jitrndred times, What a fool I am ! curse on my folly ! * and the 

Yet eren this implies an obscure sentiment, that with idEarer coneep- 
tions in the understanding, the principle of action would become purer 
in the will. Thanks to the image of our Maker not wholly obliterated 
from any human soul, we dare not purchase an exemption from guilt by 
an excuse, which would place our amelioration out of our own power. 

• We do not consider as exceptions the and rottenness of their hearts, are then 

thousands that abuse themselves by rote with commonly the warmest in their own good 

Bp-penltence, or the wild ravings of fanati- opinion, covered round and comfortable in 

eism : for these persons at the very time the vrrap^ascal of self-hypocrisy. 
they speali so vehemently of the wickedneaii 

KO The Friend. 

Thus the very man, who will abuse himself for a fool but not for a 
villain, would rather, spite of the usual professions to the contrary, bo 
condemned as a rogue by other men, than be acquitted as a blockhead. 
But be this as it may, out of himself, however, he sees plainly the true 
cause cf our common complaints. Doubtless, there seem many physical 
causes of distress, of disease, of poverty and of desolation — tempests, 
earthquakes, volcanoes, wild or venomous animals, barren soils, uncertain 
or tyrannous climates, pestilential swamps, and death in the very air we 
breathe. Yet when do we hear the general wretchedness of mankind 
attributed to these ? In Iceland, the earth opened and sent forth three 
or more vast rivers of fire. The smoke and vapour from them dimmed 
the light of Heaven through all Europe, for months ; even at Cadiz, the 
sun and moon, for several weeks, seemed turned to blood. What was 
the amount of the injury to the human race? sixty men were destroyed, 
and of these the greater part in consequence of their own imprudence. 
Natural calamities that do indeed spread devastation wide, (for instance, 
the Marsh Fever,) are almost without exception, voices of Nature in her 
all-intelligible language — do this ! or cease to do that ! By the mere 
absence of one superstition, and of the sloth engendered by it, the Plague 
would cease to exist throughout Asia and Africa. Pronounce medita- 
tively the name of Jenner, and ask what might we not hope, what need 
we deem unattainable, if all the time, the effort, the skill, which we 
waste in making ourselves miserable through vice, and vicious through 
misery, were embodied and marshalled to a systematic war against the 
existing evils of nature ? No, " It is a wicked world !" This is so 
generally the solutiou, that this very wickedness is assigned by selfish men, 
as their excuse for doing nothing to render it better, and for opposing 
those who would make the attempt. What have not Clarkson, Granville 
Sharp, Wilberforce, and the Society of the Friends, effected for the honour, 
and if we believe in a retributive Providence, for the continuance of the 
prosperity of the English nation, imperfectly as the intellectual and 
moral faculties of the people at large are developed at present? What 
may not be effected, if the recent discovery of the means of educating 
nations (freed, however, from the vile sophistications and mutilations of 
ignorant^ mountebanks,) shall have been applied to its full extent? 
Would I frame to myself the most inspiriting representation of future 
bliss, which my mind is capable of comprehending, it would be embodied 
to me in the idea of Bell receiving, at some distant period, the appropriate 
reward of his earthly labours, when thousands and ten thousands of 
glorified spirits, whose reason and conscience had, through his efforts, 
been unfolded, shall sing the song of their own redemption, and pouring 
forth praises to God and to their Saviour, shall repeat his " New name ' 
in Heaven, give thanks for his earthly virtues, as the chosen instruments 
of divine mercy to themselves, and not seldom, perhaps, tura their ey.s 


Essay 14. 61 

toward him, as from the sun to its image in the fountain, with secoi.dary 
gratitude and the permitted utterance of a human love ! Were but a 
hundred men to combine a deep conviction that virtuous habits may be 
formed by the very means by which knowledge is communicated, that 
men may be made better, not only in consequence, but by the mode and 
in the process, of instraction : were but a hundred men to combine that 
clear conviction of this, which I myself at this moment feel, even as I 
feel the certainty of my being, with the perseverance of a Clarkson or a 
Bell, the promises of ancient prophecy would disclose themselves to our 
faith, even as when a noble castle hidden from us by an intervening mist, 
discovers itself by its reflection in the tranquil lake, on the opposite 
shore of which we stand gazing. What an awful duty, what a nurse 
of all other, the fairest virtues, does not hope become ! We are bad 
ourselves, because we despair of the goodness of others. 

If then it be a truth, attested alike by common feeling and common 
sense, that the greater part of human misery depends directly on 
human vices and the remainder indirectly, by what means can we acl 
on men so as to remove or preclude these vices and purify their prin- 
ciple of moral election ? The question is not by what means each man 
is to alter his own character — in order to this all the means prescribed 
ftnd all the aidances given by religion, may be necessary for him. Vain, 
pf themselves, may be 

The sayiugs of the wise 
In ancient aad in modern books inrolled 

Unless he feel within 
Some source of consolation from above, 
Secret refreshings, that repair his strength 
And faintiijg spirits uphold. 

Samson Agcnieteb. 

This is not the ^^[uestion. Virtue would not be virtue, could it be 
given by one fellow'creature to another. To make use of all the means 
and appliances in our power to the actual attainment of rectitude, 
is the abstract of the duty which we owe to ourselves : to supply 
those means as far as we can, comprises our duty to others. The 
question then is, what are these means? Can they be any other than 
the communication of knowledge, and the removal of those evils and 
impediments which prevent its reception ? It may not be in our 
|X)wer to combine both, but it is in the power of every man to contri- 
bute to the former, who is Bufficiently informed to feel that it is his 
duty. If it be said, that we sboii^d endeavour not so much to remove 
ignorance as to make the ignorant religious : Eeligion herself, through 
her sacred oracles, answers for me, tfoa,t ajl effective faith presup^ioses 
knowledge and individual convictioiji. If the mere acquiescence in 
truth, uncomprehended and unfathometlj were sufficient, few indted 

The Friend, 


would be the vicious and the miserable, in this country &t least^ where 
speculative infidelity is, Heaven be praised ! confined to a small number. 
Like bodily deformity, there is one instance here and another there ; 
but three in one place are already an undue proportion. It is highly 
worthy of observation, that the inspired writings received by Christians 
are distinguishable from all other books pretending to inspiration, 
from the scriptures of the Brahmins, and even from the Koran, in their 
strong and frequent recommendations of truth. I do not here mean 
veracity, which cannot but be enforced in every code which appeals to 
the religious principle of man; but knowledge. This is not only 
extolled as the crown and honour of a man, but to seek after it is again 
and again commanded us as one of our most sacred duties. Yea, the 
very perfection and final bliss of the glorified spirit is" represented by 
the Apostle as a plain aspect, or intuitive beholding of truth in its 
eternal and immutable source. Not that knowledge can of itself do all. 
The light of religion is not that of the moon, light without heat ; but 
neither is its warmth that of the stove, warmth without light. Reli- 
gion is the sun, whose warmth indeed swells, and stirs, and actuates the 
life of nature, but who at the same time beholds all the growth of life 
with a master-eye, makes all objects glorious on which he looks, and by 
that glory visible to all others. 

But though knowledge be not the only, yet that it is an indispensable 
and most effectual agent in the direction of our actions, one considera- 
tion will convince us. It is an undoubted fact of human nature, that 
the sense of impossibility quenches all will. Sense of utter inaptitude 
does the same. The man shuns the beautiful flame, which is eagerly 
grasped at by the infant. The sense of disproportion of a certain after- 
harm to present gratification produces effects almost equally uniform : 
though almost perishing with thirst, we should dash to the earth a 

' goblet of wine in which we had seen a poison infused, though the poison 
were without taste or odour, or even added to the pleasures of both. 

. Are not all our vices equally inapt to the universal end of human 
actions, the satisfaction of the agent ? Are not their pleasures equally 
disproportionate to the after-harm ? Yet many a maiden, who will not 
grasp at the fire, will yet purchase a wreath of diamonds at the price of 
her health, her honour, nay (and she herself knows it at the moment of 
her choice) at the sacrifice of her peace and happiness. The sot would 
reject the poisoned cup, yet the trembling hand with which he raises 
his daily or hourly draught to his lips, has not left him ignorant that 
this too is altogether a poison. I know, it will be objected, that the 
consequences foreseen are less immediate ; that they are diffused over a 
larger space of time ; and that the slave of vice hopes where no hope is. 
This, however, only removes the question one step further : for why 

should the distance or diffusion of known consequences prodiiae so 

Essay 14. 63 

great a difference? Why are men the dupes of the present moment ? 
Evidently because the conceptions are indistinct in the one case, and 
vi^-id in the other ; because all confused conceptions render us restless ; 
and because restlessness can drive us to vices that promise no enjoy 
ment, no not even the cessation of that restlessness. This is indeed 
the dread punishment attached by nature to habitual vice, that its im- 
pulses wax as its motives wane. No object, not even the light of a 
solitary taper in the far distance, tempts the benighted mind from 
before ; but its own restlessness dogs it from behind, as with the iron 
goad of destiny. What then is or can be the preventive, the remedy, 
the counteraction, but the habituation of the intellect to clear, distinct, 
and adequate conceptions concerning all things that are the possible 
objects of clear conception, and thus to reserve the deep feelings which 
belong, as by a natural right to those obscure ideas * that are necessary to 
the moral perfection of the human being, notwithstanding, yea, even in 
consequence, of their obscurity — to reserve these feelings, I repeat, for 
objects, which their very sublimity renders indefinite, no less than their 
indefiniteness renders them sublime : namely, to the ideas of being, 
form, life, the reason, the law of conscience, freedom, immortality, God ! 
To connect with the objects of our senses the obscure notions and conse- 
quent vivid feelings, which are due only to immaterial and permanent 
things, is profanation relatively to the heart, and superstition in the 
understanding. It is in this sense, that the philosophic Apostle calls 
covetousness idolatry. Could we emancipate ourselves from the be- 
dimraing influences of custom, and the transforming witchcraft of 
early associations, we should see as numerous tribes of fetish-worship- 
pers in the streets of London and Paris, as we hear of on the coasts of 

• I hav3 not expressed myself as clearly historians, that the passions of the disputant* 
ae I could wish. But the truth of the asser- are commonly violent in proportion to tho 
tion, that deep feeling has a tendency to subtlety and obscurity of the questions in 
combine with obscure ideas, in preference to dispute. Nor is this fact confined to pro- 
distinct and clear notions, may be proved by fessional theologians : for whole nations have 
the history of fanatics and fanaticism in all displayed the same agitations, and havo 
ages and countries. The odium theologicum sacrificed national policy to the more power 
is even proverbial: and it is the common ful interest of a controverted obBcarity, 
tempUtut of philosopberi «nd philosophic 

64 The Friend, 


A palace when 'tis that which it should t« 
]-eavos growing, and stands suen, or else decays* 
With him who dwells there, 'tis not so : for he 
Should still urge upward, and his fortune raiso. 

Our bodies had their morning, have their noon, 
And shall not better— the next change is night i 
But their far larger guest, t' whom sun tnd moon 
Are sparks and short-lived, claims another right. 

! . The noble soul by age grows lustier. 

Her appetite and her digestion mend ; 
We must not starve nor hope to pamper uer 
With woman's milk and pap unto the end. 

ProvidB you manlier diet ! Pc*>"SE, 

I AM fully aware, that what I am writingand have wntten (in these latter 
essays at least) will expose me to the censure of some, as bewildering 
myself and readers with metaphysics ; to the ridicule of others as a 
schoolboy declaimer on old and worn-out truisms or exploded fancies; 
and to the objection of most as obscure. The last real or supposed 
defect has already received an answer both in the preceding Numbers, 
and in the Appendix to the author's first Lay Sermon, entitled "ITie 
. Statesman's Manual." Of the two former, 1 shall take the present 
opportunity of declaring my sentiments : especially as I have already 
received a hint that my " idol, Milton, has represented metaphysics as 
the subject which the bad spirits in hell delight in discussing." And 
truly, if 1 had exerted my subtlety and invention in persuading myself 
and others that we are but living machines, and that (as one of the late 
followers of Hobbes and Hartley has expressed the system) the assassin 
and his dagger are equally fit objects of moral esteem and abhorrence ; 
or if with a writer of wider influence and higher authority, I had re- 
duced all virtue to a selfish prudence eked out by superstition, (for 
assuredly a creed which takes its central point in conscious selfishness, 
whatever be the forms or names that act on the selfish passion, a ghost 
or a constable, can have but a distant relationship to that religiou, 
which places its essence in our loving our neighbour as ourselves, and 
God above all,) I know not by what arguments I could repel the sarcasm. 
But what are my metaphysics.? merely the referring of the mind to its 
own consciousness for truths indispensable to its own happiness ! To 
what purposes do I or am I about to employ them ? To perplex our 
cleanest notions and living moral instincts ? To deaden the feelings of 
will and free power, to extinguish the light of love and of conscience, to 
■aake myself and others worthless, soul-less, God-less? No! to expose 
the foUy and the legerdemain of those who have thus abused the blessed 
m9fM&& of language ; to support all old and venerable truths ; and bj' 

Essay 15. 65 

Uiom to support, to kindle, to project the spirit ; to make tlie reason 
spread light over our feelings, to make our feelings, with their vital 
■warmth, actualize our reason : — these are my objects, these are my 
subjects, and are these the metaphysics which the bad spirits in hell 
delight in? 

But hjw shall I avert the scorn of those critics who laugh at the 
oldaess of my topics, evil and good, necessity and arbitrement, immor- 
tality and the ultimate aim ? By what shall I regain their favour ? My 
themes must be new, a French constitution ; a balloon ; a change of 
ministry ; a fresh batch of kings on the Continent, or of peers in our 
happier island ; or who had the best of it of two parliamentary gladia- 
tors, and whose speech, on the subject of Europe bleeding at a thousand 
wounds, or our own country struggling for herself and all human nature, 
was cheered by the greatest number of " laughs," " loud laughs," and 
" very loud laughs ;" (which, carefully marked by italics, form most 
conspicuous and strange parentheses in the newspaper reports.) Or if I 
must be philosophical, the last chemical discoveries, provided I do not 
trouble my reader with the principle which gives them their highest 
interest, and the character of intellectual grandeur to the discoverer ; 
or the last shower of stones, and that they were supposed, by certain 
philosophers, to have been projected from some volcano in the moon, 
taking care, however, not to add any of the cramp reasons for this 
opinion ! Something new, however, it must be, quite new and quite 
out of themselves! for whatever is within them, whatever is deep within 
them, must be as old as the first dawn of human reason. But to find 
no contradiction in the union of old and new, to contemplate the 
Ancient of Days with feelings as fresh as if they then sprang forth at 
His own fiat, this characterizes the minds that feel the riddle of the 
world, and maj' help to unravel it ! To carry on the feelings of child- 
hood into the powers of manhood, to combine the child's sense of won- 
der and novelty with the appearances which everyday for perhaps forty 
years has rendered familiar, 

With sun and moon and stars throughout the year, 
And man and woman 

this is the character and privilege of genius, and one of the marks which 
distinguish genius from talent. And so to represent familiar objects as 
to awaken the minds of others to a like freshness of sensation concern- 
ing them (that constant accompaniment of mental, no less than of bodily, 
convalescence) — to the same modest questioning of a self-discovered 
and intelligent ignorance, which, like the deep and massy foundations 
of a Roman bridge, forms half of the whole structure (prudens interro- 
gaiio dimidium scientice, says Lord Bacon)— this is the prime merit ot 
geniua, and its most uneauivocal mode of manifestation. "Who has not. 

66 The Friend. 


a thousand times, seen it snow upon water? Who has not seen it with 
a new feeling, since he has read Burns's comparison of sensual pleasure te 

the snowfall in the river, 
A moment white — then melts for ever ' 

In philosophy, equally as in poetry, genius produces the strongest 
impressions of novelty, while it rescues the stalest and most admitted 
truths from the impotence caused by the very circumstance of their 
universal admission. Extremes meet — a proverb, by-the-by, to collect and 
explain all the instances and exemplifications of which, would constitute 
fuid exhaust all philosophy. Truths, of all others the most awful and mys- 
terious, yet being at the same time of universal interest, are too often 
considered as so true that they lose all the powers of truth, and lie bed- 
ridden in the dormitory of the soul, side by side with the- most despised 
and exploded errors, 

But as the class of critics, whose contempt I have anticipated, com- 
monly consider themselves as men of the world, instead of hazarding 
additional sneers by appealing to the authorities of recluse philosophers, 
(for such, in spite of all history, the men who have distinguished them- 
selves by profound thought, are generally deemed, from Plato and Aris- 
totle to Oicero, and from Bacon to Berkeley,) I will refer them to the 
darling of the polished court of Augustus, to the man, whose works 
have been in all ages deemed the models of good sense, and are still the 
pocket-companion of those who pride themselves on uniting the scholar 
with the gentleman. This accomplished man of the world has given us 
an account of the subjects of conversation between himself and the 
illustrious statesman who governed, and the brightest luminaries who 
then adorned the empire of the civilized world : 

Sermo oritur non de villis damibuive alienis, 

JV«c mak, necne, lepus saltet. Sed quod magis ad nos 

Fertinet, et nescire malum est, agitamus : utrumne 

Divitiis homines, an sint virtute beati ? 

Et qu<K sit natura boni f summumque quid ejus ? 

HoEAT. Seem. L. II. Sat 6. v. 71.* 

Berkeley indeed asserts, and is supported in his assertion by the 
great statesmen, Lord Bacon and Sir Walter Ealeigh, that without an 
habitual interest in these subjects, a man may be a dexterous intriguer, 
but never can be a statesman. Would to Heaven that the verdict to be 
passed on my labours depended on those who least needed them ! The , 
water-lily in the midst of waters lifts up its broad leaves, and expands I 
its petals at the first pattering of the shower, and rejoices in the rain 1 
with a quicker sympathy than the parched shrub in the sandy desert, 

• (^Literal Translaiicn ) — Conversation an evil uot to know : whether men are made 

arises not concerning the country seats or happy by riches or by virtue ? And in what 

fttiuillee of strangers, nor whether the dancing consists the nature of good? and what is tlie 

hare performed well or iU. But we discuss ultimate or supreme good? (i.e. iAe summuM 

wbat mor»< nearly concerns ns, and which it is Jxmum.) 

Essay 15. 67 

God created man in His own image. To be the image of His own 
eternity created He man ! Of eternity and self-existence what other likeness 
is possible in a finite being, but immortality and moral self-determination ? 
In addition to sensation, perception, and practical judgment (instinctive 
or acquirable), concerning the notices furnished by the organs of percep 
tion, all which, in kind at least, the dog possesses in common with his 
master ; in addition to these, God gave us reason, and with reason He 
gave us reflective self-consciousness ; gave us principles, distinguished 
from the maxims and generalizations of outward experience by their 
absolute and essential universality and necessity ; and above all, by 
superadding to reason the mysterious faculty of free-will and consequent 
personal amenability, He gave us conscience — that law of conscience,which 
in the power, and as the indwelling word, of a holy and omnipotent 
legislator commands us — from among the numerous ideas mathematical 
and philosophical, which the reason by the necessity of its own excellence 
creates for itself, unconditionally commands us to attribute reality, and 
actual existence, to those ideas and to those only, without which the 
conscience itself would be baseless and contradictory, to the ideas of soul, 
of free-will, of immortality, and of God ! 

To God, as the Keality of the conscience and the Source of all obliga- 
tion; to free-will, as the power of the human being to maintain the 
obedience, which God through the conscience has commanded, against 
all the might of nature ; and to the immortality of the soul, as a state 
in which the weal and woe of man shall be proportioned to his moral 

With this faith all nature, 

all the mighty world 

Of eye and ear - 

presents itself tons, now as the aggregated material of duty, and now as 
a vision of the Most High revealing to us the mode, and time, and par- 
ticular instance of applying and realizing that universal rule, pre- 
established in the heart of our reason ! 

" The displeasure of some readers may, perhaps, be incurred by my 
having surprised them into certain reflections and inquiries, for which 
they have no curiosity. But perhaps some others may be pleased to 
find themselves carried into ancient times, even though they should con- 
sider the hoary maxims, defended in these essays, barely as hints to 
awaken and exercise the inquisitive reader, on points not beneath the 
attention of the ablest men. Those great men, Pythagoras, Plato, and 
Aristotle, men the most consummate in politics, who founded states, or 
instructed princes, or wrote most accurately on public government, were 
at the same time the most acute at all abstracted and sublime specula- 
tions : the clearest light being ever necessary to guide the mest impor«. 

68 The Friend. 


tant actions. And whatever the world may opine, he who hath not 
much meditated upon God, the human mind, and the summum bonum, 
may possibly make a thriving earth-worm, but will most indubitably 
make a blundering patriot and a aorry state sman." 

Berkeley's Sibis, § 350. 


Blind is that soul wMch from this truth can swerre, 
No state stands sure, but on the gromids of right, 
Of virtue, knowledge ; judgment to preserve, 
And all the pow'rs of learning requisite : 
Though other shifts a present turn roay serve, 
Yet in the trial they will weigh too light. 


IEAENESTLY entreat the reader not to be dissatisfied either with him- 
self or with the author, if he should not at once understand every part 
of the preceding number ; but rather to consider it as a mere annuncia- 
tion of a magnificent theme, the different parts of which are to be de- 
monstrated and developed, explained, illustrated, and exemplified in the 
progress of the work, I likewise entreat him to peruse with attention 
and with candour the weighty extract from the judicious Hooker, pre- 
fixed as the motto to a following number of The Friend. In works of rea- 
soning, as distinguished from narration of events or statements of facts; 
but more particularly in works, the object of which is to make us better 
acquainted with our own nature, a writer, whose meaning is everywhere 
comprehended as quickly as his sentences can be read, may indeed have 
produced an amusing composition, nay, by awakening and re-enlivening 
our recollections, a useful one; but most assuredly he will not have 
added either to the stock of our knowledge, or to the vigour of our in- 
tellect. For how can we gather strength, but by exercise ? How can a 
truth, new to us, be made our own without examination and self-ques- 
tioning P^any new truth, I mean, that relates to the properties of the 
mind, and its various faculties and affections ! But whatever demands 
effort, rei;[uires time. Ignorance seldom vaults into knowledge, but passes 
into it through an intermediate state of obscurity, even as nic^ht into 
day through twilight. All speculative truths begin with a postulate, 
even the truths of geometry. They all suppose an act of the will ; for 
in the moral being lies the source of the intellectual. The first step to 
knowledge, or rather the previous condition of all insight into truth, is 
to dare commune with our very and permanent self. It is Warburton's 
remark, not The Friend's, that " of aU literary exercitations, whether 
designed for the use or entertainment of the world, there are none of so 
much importance, or so immediately our concern, as those which lot us 
into the knowledge :>f our own nature. Others may exercise the un- 

£^ssay 16. 69 

derstanding or amuse the imagination; but these only can improve the 
heart and form the human mind to wisdom." 

The recluse Hennit ofttimes more doth know 

Of the world'B inmost wheels, than worldlings can. 

As man is of the world, the heart of man 

I« an epitome of God's great book 

Of creatures, and men need ao further look. 


The higher a man's station, the more arduous and full of peril his 
duties, the more comprehensive should his foresight be, the more rooted 
his tranquillity concerning life and death. But these are gifts which 
no experience can bestow, but the experience from within : and there is 
a nobleness of the whole personal being, to which the contemplation of 
all events and phaenomena in the light of the three master ideas, an- 
nounced in the foregoing pages, can alone elevate the spirit. Anima 
sapiens, (says Giordano Bruno, and let the sublime piety of the passage 
excuse some intermixture of error, or rather let the words, as they well 
may, be interpreted in a safe sense) — anima sapiens non timet mortem, 
immo i?iterdum illam ultra appetit, illi ultra occurrit. Manet quippe 
suhstantiam omnem pro duratione eternitas, pro loco immensitas, pro 
actu omniformitas. Non levem igitur ac futilem, atqui gravissimam 
perfectoque homine digrdssiniam contemplationis partem persequimur 
abi divinitatis, naturoeque splendorem, fusionem, tt eommunicationem, 
non in ciba, patu, et ignobiliore quadam materia cum attonitorum secido 
perquirvmus; sed in augustd Omnipotentis regia, immenso cetheris 
spacio, in infinita naturae gemince omnia fientis et omnia facientis po- 
tentia, unde tot astrorum, mundorum inqvum et numinum, uni altissimo 
concinentium atque saltantium absque numero atque fine juxta proposi- 
tps uhique fines atque ordines, contemplamur. Sic ex visibilium (xterno, 
immenso et innumerahili effectv, sempitema immensa ilia Maj'estas atque 
honitas intdlecta conspicitur, proque sua dignitate innumerabilium 
Deorum {mundorum dico) adsistentia, concinentia, et glorice, ipsius 
enarratione, imma ad oculos expressa condone glorificatur. Oui im- 
menso mensum non quadrdbit domicilium atque templum — ad cujm 
Majestatis plenitudinem agnoscendam atque percolendam, numerabilium 
ministrorum mdlus esset ordo. Ma igitur ad omniformis Dei omnifor- 
mem imaginem conjectemus oculos, vivum et magnum illius admiremur 
simulacrum] — Einc miraculum magnum a Trismegisto appellabatur 
homo, qui in Deum transeat quasi ipse sit Deus, qui conatur omnia fieri 
sicui Deus est omnia; ad objectum sine fine, ubique tamen finiendo, con- 
tendit, sicut infinitus est Deus, immensus, ubique totus* 

•(rratiiZatwn)— A wise spirit does not fear place immensity, for action omniformlty. 

death nay sometimes (as in cases of volun- We pursue, therefore, a species of contem- 

lary martyrdom) seeks and goes forth to plation not Ugbt or futile, but the weightiest 

meet it of its own accord. For there awaits and most worthy of an accomplished man, 

»11 actual beings for duration eternity, for while we examine and seek for the splendour. 

70 TTie Friend. 

If this be regarded as the fancies of an enthusiast, by Buch as 

deem themselves most free. 
When they within this gross and visible sphere 
Chain down the winged soul, scofSng ascent. 
Proud In their meanness. 

by such as pronounce every man out of his senses who has not lost his 
reason ; even such men may find some weight in the historical fact that 
from persons, who had previously strengthened their intellects and feel- 
ings by the contemplation of principles — principles, the actions corre- 
spondent to which involve one half of their consequences, by their 
ennobling influence on the agent's own soul, and have omnipotence, as 
the pledge for the remainder — we have derived the surest and most 
general maxims of prudence. Of high value are they all. Yet there is 
one among them worth all the rest, which in the fullest and primary 
sense of the word is, indeed, the maxim (i.e. the maximum) of human 
prudence ; and of which history itself, in all that makes it most worth 
studying, is one continued comment and exemplification. It is this : 
that there is a wisdom higher than prudence, to which prudence stands 
in the same relation as the mason and carpenter to the genial and scien- 
tific architect : and from the habits of thinking and feeling, that in this 
wisdom had their first formation, our Nelsons and Wellingtons inherit 
that glorious hardihood, which completes the undertaking, ere the con- 

the interfusion, and communication of the 
Divinity and of nature, not in meats or drink, 
or any yet ignobler matter, with the race of 
the thunder-stricken ; but in the august 
palace of the Omnipotent, in the illimitable 
ethereal space, in the infinite power, that 
creates all things, and is the abiding being of 
all things. 

There we may contemplate the host of 
stars, of worlds and their guardian Deities, 
numbers without number, each in its ap- 
pointed sphere, singing together, and dancing 
in adoration of the One Most High. Thus 
from the perpetual, immense, and innumer- 
able goings on of the visible world, that sem- 
piternal and absolutely infinite Majesty is 
Intellectually beheld, and is glorified accord- 
ing to His glory by the attendance and choral 
synlphonies of Innumerable gods, who utter 
forth the glory of their iueffable Creator in 
the expressive language of vision ! To Him 
illimitable, a limited temple will not corre- 
spond — to the acknowledgment and due wor- 
ship of the plenitude of His Majesty there 
would be no proportion in any numerable 
army of minlstrant spirits. Let us then cast 
our eyes upon the omniform Image of the 
attributes of the aU-creating Supreme, nor 
admit any representation of His excellency 
but the living uniyerse, which He has created ! 
^Thence was man entitled by Trismegistus, 
"the great miracle," inasmuch as he has been 
made capable of entering into union with 

God, as if he were himself a divine nature; 
tries to 'become all things, even as in God all 
things are; and in limitless progression of 
limited states of being, m-ges onward to the 
ultimate aim, even as God is simultaneously 
infinite, and everywhere All ! 

I purpose to give an account of the life of 
Giordano Bruno, the friend of Sir PhiUp 
Sidney, who was burnt under pretence of 
atheism, at Eome, in the year 1600 ; and of 
his works, which are perhaps the scarcest 
books ever printed. They are singularly in- 
teresting as portraits of a vigorous mind 
struggling after truth, amid many prejudices, 
which from the state of the Roman Church, 
in which he was bom, have a claim to much 
indulgence. One of them (entitled Ember 
Week) is curious for its lively accounts of the 
rude state of London, at that time, both as 
to the streets and the manners of the citizens. 
The most Industrious historians of specula- 
tive philosophy, have not been able to pro- 
cure more than a few of his works. Acci- 
dentally I have been more fortunate in this 
respect, than those who have written hitherto 
on the unhappy philosopher of Nola : as out 
of eleven works, the titles of which are pre- 
served to us, 1 have had an opportunity of 
perusing six. 1 was told, when in Germany, 
that there Is a complete collection of them in 
the royal library at Copenhagen, li so, it so 

Essay 16. 71 

lemptiioiis calculator (who has left nothing omitted in his scheme of 
probabilities, except the might of the human mind) has finished his 
pretended proof of its impossibility. You look to facts and profess tc 
take experience for your guide. Well ! I too appeal to experience : and 
let facts be the ordeal of my position ! Therefore, although I have in 
this and the preceding numbers quoted more frequently and copiously 
than I shall permit myself to do in future, I owe it to the cause 1 am 
pleading, not to deny myself the gratification of supporting this connec- 
tion of practical heroism with previous habits of philosophic thought, by 
a singularly appropriate passage from an author whose works can be 
called rare only from their being, I fear, rarely read, however commonly 
talked of. It is the instance of Xenophon as stated by Lord Bacon, who 
would himself furnish an equal instance, if there could be foimd an 
equal commentator. 

"It is of Xenophon the philosopher, who went from Socrates' school 
into Asia, in the expedition of Cyrus the younger, against King Arta- 
Serxes. This Xenophon, at that time, was very young, and never had 
seen the wars before ; neither had any command in the army, but only 
followed the war as a volunteer, for the love and conversation of Prox- 
enus, his friend. He was present when Falinus came in message from 
the great King to the Grecians, after that Cyrus was slain in the field, 
and they, a handful of men, left to themselves in the midst of the King's 
territories, cut off from their country by many navigable rivers, and 
many hundred miles. The message imported, that they should deliver 
up their arms and submit themselves to the King's mercy. To which 
message, before answer was made, divers of the army conferred familiarly 
with Falinus, and amongst the rest Xenophon happened to say : ' Why, 
Falinus, we have now but these two things left, our arms and our 
virtue ; and if we yield up our arms, how shall we make use of our 
virtue ?' Whereto Falinus, smiling on him, said, ' If I be not deceived, 
young gentleman, you are an Athenian, and I believe you study phi- 
losophy, and it is pretty that you say ; but you are much abused, if you 
think your virtue can withstand the King's power.' Here was the 
scorn : the wonder followed — which was, that this young scholar or phi- 
losopher, after all the captains were murdered in parley, by treason, con- 
ducted those ten thousand foot through the heart of all the King's high 
countries from Babylon to Grtecia, in safety, in despite of all the King's 
forces, to the astonishment of the world, and the encouragement of the 
Grecians, in times succeeding, to make invasion upon the kings of 
Persia ; as was after purposed by Jason the ThessaHan, attempted by 
Agesilaus the Spartan, and achieved by Alexander the Macedonian, ail 
upon the ground of the act of that young scholar." 

Often have I reflected with awe on the great and disproportionate 
power, which an individual of no extraordinary talents, or attainments' 

72 The Friend. 

may exert, by merely throwing off all restraint of conscience. WLat 
then must not be the power, where an individual, of consummate wick- 
edness, can organize into the unity and rapidity of an individual will all 
the natural and artificial forces of a populous and wicked nation? And 
could we bring within the field of imagination, the devastation effected 
in the moral world, by the violent removal of old customs, familiar 
sympathies, willing reverences, and habits of subordination almost natu- 
ralized into instinct ; of the mild influences of reputation, and the other 
ordinary props and aidances of our infirm virtue, or at least, if virtue be 
too high a name, of our well-doing ; and above all, if we could give form 
and body to all the effects produced on the principles and dispositions of 
nations by the infectious feelings of insecurity, and the soul-sickening 
sense of unsteadiness in the whole edifice of civil society ,- the horrors of 
battle, though the miseries of a whole war were brought together before 
our eyes in one disastrous field, would present but a tame tragedy in 
comparison. Nay, it would even present a sight of comfort and of ele- 
vation, if this field of carnage were the sign and result of a national 
resolve, of a general will, so to die, that neither deluge nor fire should 
take away the name of Country from their graves, rather than to tread 
the same clods of earth, no longer a country, and themselves alive in 
nature, but dead in infamy. What is Greece at this present moment? 
It is the country of the heroes from Codrus to Philopcemen ; and so it 
would be, though all the sands of Africa should cover its com fields and 
olive gardens, and not a flower were left on Hymettus for a bee to 
murmur in. 

If then the power with which wickedness can invest the human being 
be thus tremendous, greatly does it behove us to inquire into its source 
and causes. So doing we shall quickly discover that it is not vice, as 
vice, which is thus mighty ; but systematic vice ! Vice self-consistent 
and entire ; crime corresponding to crime ; villainy entrenched and 
barricadoed by villainy : this is the condition and main constituent of 
its power. The abandonment of all principle of right enables the soul 
to choose and act upon a principle of wrong, and to subordinate to this 
one principle all the various vices of human nature. For it is a mourn- 
ful truth, that as devastation is incomparably an easier work than pro- 
duction, so may all its means and instruments be more easily arranged 
into a scheme and system. Even as in a siege every building and garden, 
which the faithful governor must destroy, as impeding the defensive 
means of the garrison, or furnishing means of offence to the besieger, 
occasions a wound in feelings which virtue herself has fostered : and 
virtue, because it is virtue, loses perforce part of her energy in the 
reluctance with which she proceeds to a business so repugnant to her 
wishes, as a choice of evils. But he, who has once said with his whole 
heart, Evil, be thou my good ! has removed a world of obstacles by tho 

Essay 16. '73 

?cry decision, that lie will have no obstanles but those of force and brute 
natter. The road of justice 

Curves round the comfleld and the hill of vinei 
Honouring the holy bounds of property ! 

But the path of the lightning is straight : and straight Ine fearful 

Of the cannon-ball. Direct it flies and rapid, 

Shatt'ring that it may reach, and shatt'ring what it reaches. * 

Happily for mankind, however, the obstacles which a consistently evil 
mind no longer finds in itself, it finds in its own unsuitableuess to 
human nature. A limit is fixed to its power ; but within that limit, 
both as to the extent and duration of its influence, there is little hope of 
checking its career, if giant and united vices are opposed only by mixed 
and scattered virtues : and those too, probably, from the want of some 
combining principle, which assigns to each its due place and rank, 
at civil war with themselves, or at best perplexing and counteracting 
each other. In our late agony of glory and of peril, did we not too often 
hear even good men declaiming on the horrors and crimes of war, and 
softening or staggering the minds of their brethren by details of indi- 
vidual wretchedness? Thus under pretence of avoiding blood, they 
were withdrawing the will from the defence of the very source of those 
blessings without which the blood would flow idly in our veins ! Thus 
lest a few should fall on the bulwarks in glory, they were preparing us 
to give up the whole state to baseness, and the children of free ancestors 
to become slaves, and the fathers of slaves ! 

Machiavelli has well observed, " Sono di tre generazione cervelU: 
Vuno intends per se ; Taltro intends quanta da altri gli e mostro ; e il 
terzo non intende ne per se stesso ne per dimostrazione d^altri" " There 
are brains of three races. The one understands of itself; the second 
understands as much as is shown it by others ; the third neither under- 
stands of itself nor what is shown it by others." I should have no hesi- 
tation in placing that man in the third class of brains, for whom the 
history of the last twenty years has not supplied a copious comment on 
the preceding text. The widest maxims of prudence are like arms 
without hearts, disjoined from those feelings which flow forth from 
principle as from a fountain, So little are even the genuine maxims of 
expedience likely to be perceived or acted upon by those who have been 
habituated to admit nothing higher than expedience, that I dare hazard 

* Wallenstbin, from Schiller, by S. T. age have united in giving no ordinary praise 
Coleridge. I return my thanks to the un- to a work, which our anonymous critics were 
known Author of Waverley, Guy Marnering, equally unanimous in abusing as below all 
&c. for having quoted this free translation criticism: though they charitably added, 
from Schiller's best (and therefore most neg- that the fault was, doubtless, chiefly, if not 
lected) drama with applause : and am not wholly, in the translator's dullness and in- 
ashamed to avow that I have derived a pe- capacity. 
culiar gratification, that the first men of our 

74 The Friend. 

the assertion, that in the whole chapter of contents of European ruin, 
every article nriight be unanswerably deduced from the neglect of some 
maxim that had been repeatedly laid down, demonstrated, and enforced 
with a host of illustrations, in some one or other of the works of 
Machiavelli, Bacon, or Harrington.* Indeed I can remember no one 
event of importance which was not distinctly foretold, and this not by a 
lucky prize drawn among a thousand blanks out of the lottery wheel of 
conjecture, but legitimately deduced as certain consequences from esta- 
blished premises. It would be a melancholy, but a very profitable em- 
ployment, for some vigorous mind, intimately acquainted with the 
recent history of Europe, to collect the weightiest aphorisms of Machia- 
velli alone, and illustrating by appropriate facts the breach or observa- 
tion of each, to render less mysterious the present triumph of lawless 
violence. The apt motto to such a work would be, — " The children of 
aarkness are wiser in their generation than the children of light." 

So grievously, indeed, have men been deceived by the showy mock 
theories of unlearned mock thinkers, that there seems a tendency in the 
public mind to shun all thought, and to expect help from any quarter 
rather than from seriousness and reflection : as if some invisible power 
would tMnk for us, when we gave up the pretence of thinking for our- 
selves. But in the first place, did those, who opposed the theories of 
innovators, conduct their untheoretic opposition with more wisdom or to 
a happier result? And secondly, are societies now constructed on prin- 
ciples so few and so simple, that we could, even if we wished it, act as 
it were by instinct, like our distant forefathers in the infancy of states ? 
Doubtless, to act is nobler than to think ;but as the old man doth not 
become a child by means of his second childishness, as little can a 
nation exempt itself from the necessity of thinking, whicb has once 
learnt to think. Miserable was the delusion of the late mad realizer of 
mad dreams, in his belief that he should ultimately succeed in trans- 
forming the nations of Europe into the unreasoning hordes of a Baby- 
lonian or Tartar empire, or even in reducing the age to the simplicity, 
(so desirable for tyrants) of those times, when the sword and the plough 
were the sole implements of human skill. Those are epochs in the his- 
tory of a people which having been can never more recur. Extirpate all 
civilization and all its arts by the sword, trample down all ancient 
institutions, rights, distinctions, and privileges, drag us backward to our 
old barbarism, as beasts to the den of Cacus — deem you that thus you 
could recreate the unexamining and boisterous youth of the world, when 
the sole questions were — " What is to be conquered ? and who is the 
EQOSt famous leader ?" 

In an age in which artificial knowledge is received almost at the birth, 
intellect, and thought alone can be our upholder and judge. Let th<» 
* See the Statesmac'i Manual : a Lay Sermon, by the A atbor. 

Essay 16. 75 

Importance of this truth procure pardon for its repetition. Only by 
means of seriousness and meditation, and the free infliction of censure in 
the spirit of love, can the trae philanthropist of the present time, curb 
in himself and his contemporaries ; only by these can he aid in prevent- 
ing the evils which threaten us, not from the terrors of an enemy so 
much as from our fear of our own thoughts, and our aversion to all the 
toils of reflection. For all must now be taught in sport — science, mo- 
rality, yea, religion itself. And yet few now sport from the actual 
impulse of a believing fancy and in a happy delusion. Of the most 
infiuensive class, at least, of our literary guides, (the anonymous authors 
of our periodical publications,) the most part assume this character from 
Cowardice or malice, till having begun with studied ignorance and a 
premeditated levity, they at length realize the lie, and end indeed in a 
pitiable destitution of all intellectual power. 

To many I shall appear to speak insolently, because the public, (for 
that is the phrase which has succeeded to " The Town," of the wits of 
the reign of Charles II.) — the public is at present accustomed to find 
itself appealed to as the infallible judge, and each reader complimented 
with excellencies, which if he really possessed, to what purpose is he 
a reader, unless, perhaps, to remind himself of his own superioritj'. 
I confess that I think widely different. I have not a deeper convic- 
tion on earth, than that the principles of taste, morals, and religion, 
which are taught in the commonest books of recent composition, are 
false, injurious, and debasing. If these sentiments should be just, the 
consequences must be so important, that every well-educated man, who 
professes them in sincerity, deserves a patient hearing. He may fairly 
appeal even to those whose persuasions are most opposed to his own 
in the words of the Philosopher of Nola : " Ad isthcec quosso vos, 
qualiacunque primo videantur aspectu, adtendite, ut qui vdbis forsan 
insanire videar, saltern quibus insaniam rationibus cognoscatisP What 
I feel deeply, freely will I utter. Truth is not detraction ; and assuredly 
we do not hate him, to whom we tell the Truth, But with whomso- 
ever we play the deceiver and flatterer, him at the bottom we despise- 
We are, indeed, under a necessity to conceive a vileness in him, in order 
to diminish the sense of the wrong we have committed, by the worth- 
lessness of the object. 

Through no excess of confidence in the strength of my talents, but 
with the deepest assurance of the justice of my cause, I bid defiance to 
all the flatterers of the folly and foolish self-opinion of the half-in- 
structed many ; to all who fill the air with festal explosions and false 
fires sent up against the lightnings of heaven, in order that the people 
may neither distinguish the warning flash nor hear the threatening 
thunder ! How recently did we stand alone in the world ? And though 
the one storm has blown over, another may even now be gathering : or 

76 The Friend. 

Haply the hollow murmur of the earthquake within the bowels of our 
own commonweal may strike a direr terror than ever did the tempest 
of foreign warfare. Therefore, though the first quatrain is no longer 
applicable, yet the moral truth and the sublime exhortation of the 
following sonnet can never be superannuated. With it I conclude this 
number, thanking Heaven that I have communed with, honoured, and 
loved its wise and high-minded author. To know that such men are 
KmoQg us, is of itself an antidote against despondence. 

Another year ! — another deadly blow ! 
Another mighty empire overthrown ! 
And we are left, or shall be left, alone ; 
The last that dares to struggle with the foe. 
'Tia well ! from this day forward we shall know 
That in ourselves our safety must be sought ; 
That by our own right hands it must be wrought ; 
That we must stand unpropt or be laid low. 
dastard ! whom such foretaste doth not cheer I 
We shall exult, if they, who rule the land. 
Be men who hold Its many blessings dear, 
AVise, upright, valiant ; not a venal band, 
Who are to judge of danger which they fear. 
And honour which they do not understand. 







Etiam a Musis si quando animum paulisper abducamus, apud Musas nihiUiminus feriam 
at reclines quidem, at otiosas, at de his et illia inter se libere colloquentes. 

78 The First Landing-Place, 


blessed letters ! that combine in one 
All ages :*6t, and make one live with all : 
By you we do confer with who are gone, 
And the dead-living unto council call ! 
By you the unborn shall have communion 
Of what we feel and what doth us befalL 

Since writings are the veins, the arteries, 
And undecaying life-strings of those hearts. 
That still shall pant and still shall exercise 
Their mightiest powers when nature none imparU : 
And the strong constitution of their praise 
Wear out the infection of distemper'd days, 

Daniel's Musophilus. 

THE intelligence, which produces or controls human actions and occur* 
rences, is often represented by the Mystics under the name and notion 
of the suprem» harmonist. I do not myself approve of these metaphors : 
they seem to imply a restlessness to understand that which is not among 
the appointed objects of our comprehension or discursive faculty. But 
certainly there is one excellence in good music, to which, without mys- 
ticism, we may find or make an analogy in the records of history. I 
allude to that sense of recognition, which accompanies our sense of 
novelty in the most original passages of a great composer. If we listen 
to a symphony of Cimarosa, the present strain still seems not only to 
recall, but almost to renew, some past movement, another and yet the 
same ! Bach present movement bringing back, as it were, and em- 
bodying the spirit of some melody that had gone before, anticipates and 
seems trying to overtake something that is to come : and the musician 
has reached the summit of his art, when, having thus modified the 
present by the past, he at the same time weds the past in the present to 
some prepared and corresponsive future. The auditor's thoughts and 
feelings move under the same influence : retrospection blends with anti« 
cipation, and hope and memory (a female Janus) become one power 
with a double aspect. A similar effect the reader may produce for 
himself in the pages of history, if he will be content to substitute an 
intellectual complacency for pleasurable sensation. The events and 
characters of one age, like the strains in music, recall those of another, 
and the variety by which each is individualized, not only gives a chann 
and poignancy to the resemblance, but likewise renders the whole more 
intelligible. Meantime ample room is afforded for the exercise both of 
tlie judgment and the fancy, in distinguishing cases of real resemblance 
from those of intentional imitation, the analogies of nature, revolving 
uptjn herself, from the masquerade figures of cunning and vanity. 
It is not from identity of opinions, or from similarity of events and 

Essay 1. 79 

outward actions, tliat a rea resemblance in the radical iharae er can bo 
deduced. On the contrarj , men of great and stirring powers, who are 
destined to mould the age in which they are born, must first ruould 
themselves upon it. Mahomet born twelve centuries later, and in the 
heart of Europe, would not have been a false prophet ; nor vould a false 
prophet of the present generation have been a Mahomet in the sixth 
century, I have myself, therefore, derived the deepest interest from 
the comparison of men, whose characters at the first view appear widely 
dissimilar, who yet have produced similar effects on their different ages, 
and this by the exertion of powers which on examination will be founa 
far more alike, than the altered drapery and costume would have led us 
to suspect. Of the heirs of fame few are more respected by me, though 
for very different qualities, than Erasmus and Luther : scarcely any 
one has a larger share of my aversion than Voltaire ; and even of the 
better-hearted Rousseau I was never more than a very lukewarm admirer. 
I should perhaps too rudely affront the general opinion, if I avowed my 
whole creed concerning the proportions of real talent between the two 
purifiers of revealed religion, now neglected as obsolete, and the two 
modern conspirators against its authority, who are still the Alpha and 
Omega of continental genius. Yet when I abstract the .questions of 
evil and good, and measure only the effects produced and the mode of 
producing them, I have repeatedly found the idea of Voltaire, Rous- 
seau, and Robespierre, recall in a similar cluster and connection that of 
Erasmus, Luther, and Munster. 

Those who are familiar with the works of Erasmus, and who know 
the influence of his wit, as the pioneer of the Reformation ; and who 
likewise know, that by his wit, added to the vast variety of knowledge 
communicated in his works, he had won over by anticipation so large a 
part of the polite and lettered world to the Protestant party ; will be at 
no loss in discovering the intended counterpart in the life and writings 
of the veteran Frenchman, They will see, indeed, that the knowledge 
of the one was solid through its whole extent, and that of the other 
extensive at a cheap rate, by its superficiality : that the wit of the one 
is always bottomed on sound sense, peoples and enriches the mind of the 
reader with an endless variety of distinct images and living interests ; 
and that his broadest laughter is everywhere translatable into grave an<? 
weighty truth : while the wit of the Frenchman, without imagery, 
without character, and without that pathos which gives the magic 
charm to genuine humour, consists, when it is most perfect, :ji happy 
turns of phrase, but far too often in fantastic incidents, outrages of the 
pure imagination, and the poor low trick of combining the ridiculous 
with the venerable, where he, who does not laugh, abhors. Neither 
will they have forgotten, that the object of the one was to drive the 
thieves and mummers out of the temple, while the other waa prcpellirg 

8 Tlie First Landing-Place. 

a worse banditti, first to profane and pillage, and ultimately to raze it. 
Yet not the less will they perceive, that the effects remain parallel, the 
circumstances analogous, and the instruments the same. In each case 
tlie effects extended over Europe, were attested and auomented by the 
praise and patronage of thrones and dignities, and are not to be explained 
but by extraordinary industry and a life of literature ; in both instances 
the circumstances were supplied by an age of hopes and promises — tht 
age of Erasmus restless from the first vernal influences of real knowledge, 
that of Voltaire from the hectic of imagined superiority. In the vo- 
luminous works of both, the instruments employed are chiefly those oi 
wit and amusive erudition, and alike in both the errors and evils (real 
or imputed) in religion and politics are the objects of the batteiy. And 
here we must stop. The two men were essentially different. Exchange 
piutually their dates and spheres of action, yet Voltaire, had he been ten- 
fold a Voltaire, could not have made up an Erasmus ; and Erasmus 
must have emptied himself of half his greatness, and all his goodness, to 
•have become a Voltaire. 

Shall we succeed better or worse with the next pair, in this our new 
dance of death, or rather of the shadows which we have brought forth — 
two by two — from the historic ark ? In our first couple we have at least 
secured an honourable retreat, and though we failed as to the agents, wc 
have maintained a fair analogy in the actions and the objects. But the 
heroic Luther, a giant awaking in his strength ! and the crazy Eous- 
seau, the dreamer of love-sick tales, and the spinner of speculative 
cobwebs ; shy of light as the mole, but as quick-eared too for every 
whisper of the public opinion ; the teacher of Stoic pride in his principles, 
yet the victim of morbid vanity in his feelings and conduct ! From 
what point of likeness can we commence the comparison between a 
Luther and a Rousseau ? And truly had I been seeking for characters 
that, taken as they really existed, closely resemble each other, and this 
too to our first apprehensions, and according to the common riiles of 
biographical comparison, I could scarcely have made a more unlucky 
choice : unless I had desired that my parallel of the German " Son of 
Thunder" and the visionary of Geneva, should sit on the same bencii 
with honest Fluellin's of Alexander the Great and Harry of Monmouth. 
Still, however, the same analogy would hold as in my former instance : 
the effects produced on their several ages by Luther and Eousseau were 
commensurate with each other, and were produced in both cases by 
(what their contemporaries felt as) serious and vehement eloquence, 
and an elevated tone of moral feeling : and Luther, not less than Eous- 
seau, was actuated by an almost superstitious hatred of superstition, and 
a turbulent prejudice against prejudices. In the relation too whid 
their writings severally bore to those of Erasmus and Voltaire, and the 
way in which the atter co-operated with them to the same geaeral 

Essay 1. gl 

ena, each finding its own class of admirers and proselytefl, the farallel 
U complete. 

I cannot, however, rest here. Spite of the apparent incongruities, I 
am disposed to plead for a resemblance in the men themselves, for that 
similarity in their radical natures, which I abandoned all pretence and 
desire of showing in the instances of Voltaire and Erasmus. But then 
my readers must think of Luther not as he really was, but as he might 
have been, if he had been born in the age and under the circumstances 
of the Swiss philosopher. For this purpose I must strip him of many 
advantages which he derived from his own times, and must contemplate 
him in his natural weaknesses as well as in his original strength. Each 
referred all things to his own ideal. The ideal was indeed widely dif- 
ferent in the one and in the other : and this was not the least of Luther's 
many advantages, or (to use a favourite phrase of his own) not one of 
his least favours of preventing grace. Happily for him he had derived 
his standard from a common measure already received by the good and 
wise : I mean the inspired writings, the study of which Erasmus had 
pi'eviously restored among the learned. To know that we are in sym- 
pathy with others, moderates our feelings as well as strengthens our con- 
victions : and for the mind, which opposes itself to the faith of the 
multitude, it is more especially desirable that there should exist an 
object out of itself, on which it may fix its attention, and thus balance 
its own energies. 

Rousseau, on the contrary, in the inauspicious spirit of his age and 
birth-place,* had slipped the cable of his faith, and steered by the com- 
pass of unaided reason, ignorant of the hidden currents that were bearing 
him out of his course, and too proud to consult the faithful charts prized 
and held sacred by his forefathers. But the strange influences of his 
bodily temperament on his understanding ; his constitutional melancholy 
pampered into a morbid excess by solitude ; his wild dreams of suspicion ; 
his hypochondriacal fancies of hosts of conspirators all leagued against him 
and his cause, and headed by some arch-enemy, to whose machinations 
he attributed every trifling mishap, (all as much the creatures of his 
imagination, as if instead of men he had conceived them to be infernal 
spirits and beings preternatural) — these, or at least the predisposition to 
them, existed in the ground-work of feis nature : they were parts of 
Rousseau himself. And what corresponding in kind to these, not to 
speak of degree, can we detect in the character of his supposed parallel ? 
This difficulty will suggest itself at the first thonght, to those who derive 

• Infidelity was so common in Geneva lies of exaggeration : it is not however to be 

■bout that time, that Voltaire in one of his denied, that here, and throughout Swltzer- 

letterg exalts, that in this, Calvin's own city, land, he and the dark master in whose servic* 

Bome half dozen only of the most ignorant he employed himself, had ample grouudu 

believed in Christianity under any form, of triumph. 
Tljls wag, no doubt, one of Voltaire's usual 

82 Tlie First Landing -Place. 

all their knowledge of Luther from the meagre biography met with ia 
"The Lives of eminent Keformers," or even from the ecclesiastical 
histories of Mosheim or Milner : for a Ufe of Luther, in extent and style 
of execution proportioned to the grandeur and interest of the subject, a 
life of the man Luther, as well as of Luther the theologian, is still a 
desideratum iu English literature, though perhaps there is no subject for 
which so many unused materials are extant, both printed and in manu^ 

ESSAY 11. 

Is it, I ask, most important to the best interests of mankind, temporal as well as spiritual, 
that certain works, tbe names and number of whicli are fixed and unalterable, should be dis. 
tin guished from all other works, not In degree only but even in kind? And that these, 
collectively should form the Book, te which, in all the concerns of faith and morality the 
last recourse is to be had, and from the decisions of which no man dare appeal? If the 
mere existence of a book so called and charactered be, as the Koran itself sufBces to evince, 
a mighty bond of union, among nations whom all other causes tend to separate; if more- 
over the book revered by us and our forefathers has been the foster-nurse of learning in the 
darkest, and of civilization in the rudest, times ; and lastly, if this so vast and wide a blessing 
is not to be founded in a delusion, and doomed therefore to the impermanence and scom in 
which sooner or later all delusions must end, how, I pray you, is it conceivable that this 
should be brought about and secured, olherv/ise than by a special voucbsafement to this one 
Book, exclusively, of that divine mean, that uniform and perfect middle way, which in all 
points is at safe and equal distance from all errors whether of excess or defect ? But again If 
this be true, (and what Protestant Christian worthy of his baptismal dedication will deny its 
truth ?) surely we ought not to be hard and over-stern in our censures of the mistakes and in- 
firmities of those, who pretending to no warrant of extraordinary insjUration have yet been 
raised up by God's providence to be of highest power and eminence in the reformation of 
His Church. Far rather does it behove us to consider, in how many instances the peccant 
humour native to the man had been wrought upon by the faithful study of that only fault- 
less model, and corrected into an unsinning, or at least a venial, predominance in the writer 
or preacher. Yea, that not seldom the infirmity of a zealous soldier In the warfare of Christ 
has been made the very mould and ground-work of that man's pecuUar gifts and virtues, 
Grateful too we should be, that the very faults of famous men have been fitted to the age. 
on which they were to act; and that thus the folly of man has proved the wisdom of Godi 
and been made the instrument of His mercy to mankind. Anon. 

WHOEVER has sojourned in Eisenach, f will assuredly have visited 
the Warteburg, interesting by so many historical associations, 
which stands on a high rock, about two miles to the south from the city 
gate. To this castle Luther was taken on his return from the imperial 
Diet, where Charles V., bad pronounced the ban upon him, and limited 
his safe convoy to one and twenty days. On the last but one of these 

• The affectionate respect in which I hold must have discovered, that Jortin had neither 

fne name of Dr. Jortin (one of the many collected sufficient, nor the best, materials 

tllustrious nurselings of the College to which for his work ; and (perhaps from that very 

1 deem it no small honour to have beliinged cause) he grew weary of his task, before he 

— Jesus, Cambridge) renders it painful to me liad made a lull use of the scanty piateriaia 

to assert, that the above remark holds al- which he had collected, 
most equally true of a Life of Erasm us. But f Durchfliige durch Deutchland, die Nieder? 

every scholar well read in the writings of lande una Frankreich : zweit. thelL p. 12C. 
Eraemns and his illustrious contemporaries 

Essay 2. 83 

lays, as lie was on his way to Waltershausen (a town in the duchy uf 
Saxe Gotha, a few leagues to the south-east of Eisenach) he was stopped 
in a hollow behind the Castle Altenstein, and carried to the Warteburg. 
The Elector of Saxony, who could not have refused to deliver up Luther, 
as one put in the ban by the Emperor and the Diet, had ordered John 
of Berleptsch, the governor of the Warteburg, and Burckhardt von 
Hundt, the governor of Altenstein, to take Luther to one or the other of 
these castles, without acquainting him which ; in order that he might 
be able, with safe conscience, to declare, that he did not know where 
Luther was. Accordingly they took him to the Warteburg, under the 
name of the Chevalier (Ritter) George. 

To this friendly imprisonment the Reformation owes many of Luther's 
most Important labours. In this place he wrote his works agamst 
auricular confession, against Jacob Latronum, the tract on the abuse of 
Masses, that against clerical and monastic vows, composed his Exposition of 
the 22nd, 27th, and 68th Psalms, finished his Declaration of the Magnificat, 
began to write his Church Homilies, and translated the New Testament. 
Here too, and during this time, he is said to have hurled his ink-stand 
at the Devil, the black spot from which yet remains on the stone wall of 
the room he studied in ; which, surely, no one will have visited the 
Warteburg without having had pointed out to him by the good Catholic 
who is, or at least some few years ago was, the Warden of the castle. 
He must have been either a very supercilious or a very incurious 
traveller if he did not, for the gratification of his guide at least, inform 
himself by means of his pen-knife, that the said marvellous blot bids 
defiance to all the toils of the scrubbing brush, and is to remain a sign 
for ever ; and with this advantage over most of its kindred, that being 
capable of a double interpretation, it is equally flatteriug to the Protestant 
and the Papist, and is regarded by the wonder-loving zealots of both 
parties, with equal faith. 

Whether the great man ever did throw his ink-stand at his Satanic 
Majesty, whether he ever boasted of the exploit, and himself declared 
the dark blotch on his study wall in the Warteburg, to be the result and 
relict of this author-hke hand-grenado, (happily for mankind he used his 
ink-stand at other times to better purpose, and with more effective 
hostility against the arch-fiend,) I leave to my reader's own judgment; 
on condition, however, that he has previously perused Luther's Table Talk, 
and other writings of the same stamp, of some of his most illustrious 
contemporaries, which contain facts still more strange and whimsical, 
related by themselves and of themselves, and accompanied with solemn 
protestations of the truth of their statements. Luther's Table Talk, 
which to a truly philosophic mind will not be less interesting than 
Rousseau's Confessions, I have not myself the means of consulting at 
presentj and cannot therefoi-e say, whether this ink-pot adventure ia, oi 

84 The First Landing-Place. 

ie not, told or referred to in it ; but many considerations incline me to 
give credit to the story. 

Luther's unremitting literary labour and his sedentary mode of life, 
during his confinement in the Warteburg, where he was treated with the 
greatest kindness, and enjoyed every liberty consistent with his own 
safety, had begun to undermine his former unusually strong health. 
He suffered many and most distressing effects of indigestion and a 
deranged state of the digestive organs. Melancthon, whom he had 
desired to consult the physicians at Erfurth, sent him some deobstnient 
medicines, and the advice to take regular and severe exercise. At first 
he followed the advice, sate and laboured less, and spent whole days in 
the chase ; but like the younger Phny, he strove in vain to form a taste 
for this favourite amusement of the " Gods of the earth," as appears from 
a passage in his letter to George Spalatin, which I translate for an 
additional reason : to prove to the admirers of Eousseau, (who perhaps 
will not be less affronted by this biographical parallel, than the zealous 
Lutherans will be offended,) that if my comparison should turn out 
groundless on the whole, the failure will not have arisen either from the 
want of sensibility in our great reformer, or of angiy aversion to those in 
high places, whom he regarded as the oppressors of their rightful equals. 
" I have been," he writes, "employed for two days in the sports of the 
field, and was willing myself to taste this bitter-sweet amusement of the 
great heroes : we have caught two hares, and one brace of poor little 
partridges. An employment this which does not ill suit quiet leisurely 
Iblks : for even in the midst of the ferrets and dogs, I have had theologi- 
cal fancies. But as much pleasure as the general appearance of the scene 
and the mere looking on occasioned me, even so much it pitied me to 
think of the mystery and emblem which lies beneath it. For what does 
this symbol signify, but that the Devil, through his godless huntsmen 
and dogs, the Bishops and Theologians to wit, doth privily chase and 
catch the innocent poor little beasts ? Ah ! the simple and credulous 
souls came thereby far too plain before my eyes. Thereto comes a yet 
more frightful mystery : as at my earnest entreaty we had saved alive 
one poor little hare, and I had concealed it in the sleeve of my great- 
coat, and had strolled off a short distance from it, the dogs in the mean- 
time found the poor hare. Such, too, is the fury of the Pope with 
Satan, that he destroys even the souls that had been saved, and troubles 
himself little about my pains and entreaties. Of such hunting then I 
have had enough." In another passage he tells his correspondent, " you 
know it is hard to be a prince, and not in some degree a robber, and the 
greater a prince the more a robber," Of our Henry VIIL he says, " 1 
must answer the grim lion that passes himself off for King of England. 
The ignorance in the book is such as one naturally expects from a King; 
but the bitterness and impudent falsehood is quite leonine." And in hi! 

Essay 2. 85 

Circular letter tc tlie princes, on occasion of the peasants war, he uses a 
language so inflammatory, and holds forth a doctrine which borders so 
near on the holy right of insurrection, that it may as well remain un- 

Had Luther been himself a prince, he could not have desired better 
treatment than he received during his eight months' stay in theWarteburg ; 
and in consequence of a more luxurious diet than he had been accus- 
tomed to, he was plagued with temptations both from the " flesh and the 
devil" It is evident from his letters* that he suffered under great irri- 
tability of his nervous system, the common effect of deranged digestion 
in men of sedentary habits, who are at the same time intense thinkers ; 
and this irritability added to, and revivifying, the impressions made 
upon him in early life, and fostered by the theological systems of his 
manhood, is abundantly sufficient to explain all his apparitions and all 
his nightly combats with evil spirits. I see nothing improbable in the 
supposition, that in one of those unconscious half-sleeps, or rather those 
rapid alternations of the sleeping with the half-waking state, which is 

the true witching time, — 

the season 
Wherein the spirits hold their wont to walk, 

the fruitful matrix of ghosts — I see nothing improbable, that in some 
one of those momentary slumbers, into which the suspension of all 
thought in the perplexity of intense thinking so often passes, Luther 
should have had a full view of the room in which he was sitting, of 
his writing-table and all the implements of study as they really existed, 
and at the same time a brain-image of the Devil, vivid enough to have 
acquired apparent otUness, and a distance regulated by the proportion of 
its distinctness to that of the objects really impressed on the outward 

If this Christian Hercules, this heroic cleanser of the Augean stable 
of apostacy, had been born and educated in the present or the preceding 
generation, he would, doubtless, have held himself for a man of genius 
and original power. But with this faith alone he would scarcely have 
removed the mountains which he did remove. The darkness and super- 
stition of the age, which required such a reformer, had moulded his mind 
for the reception of ideas concerning himself, better suited to inspire the 
strength and enthusiasm necessary for the task of reformation, ideas 
more in sympathy with the spirits whom he was to influence. He 
deemed himself gifted with supernatural influxes, an especial servant of 
Heaven, a chosen warrior, fighting as the general of a small but faithful 

• I can scarcely conceive a more delightful difiBcult task I admit— and scarcely possible 

volume than might be made from Luther's for any man, however great his talents Jn 

letters, especially from those that were other respects, whose favourite reading baa 

written from the Warteburg, if they were not lain among the English writers from 

translated in the simple, sinewy, idiomatic, Edward VI. to Charles 1. 
bearty mother-tongue of the original. A 

86 The First Landing-Place. g| 

troop, against an army of evil beings headed by the prince of the ail. 
These were no metaphorical beings in his apprehension. He was a poet 
indeed, as great a poet as ever lived in any age or country ; but his poetic 
images were so vivid, that they mastered the poet's own mind ! He was 
possessed with them, as with substances distinct from himself: Luther 
did not write, he acted poems. The Bible was a spiritual indeed but 
not a figurative armoury in his belief : it was the magazine of his war- 
like stores, and from thence he was to arm himself, and supply both 
shield and sword, and javelin, to the elect, Methinks I see him sitting, 
the heroic student, in his chamber in the Warteburg, with his midnight 
lamp before him, seen by the late traveller in the distant plain of Bia- 
chofsroda, as a star on the mountain ! Below it lies the Hebrew Bible 
open, on which he gazes, his brow pressing on his palm, brooding over 
some obscure text, which he desires to make plain to the simple boor 
and to the humble artizan, and to transfer its whole force into their own 
natural and living tongue. And he himself does not understand it! 
Thick darkness lies on the original text : he counts the letters, he calls 
up the roots of each separate word, and questions them as the familiar 
spirits of an oracle. In vain ! thick darkness continues to cover it! not 
a ray of meaning dawns through it. With sullen and angry hope he 
reaches for the Vulgate, his old and sworn enemy, the treacherous con- 
federate of the Eoman anti-Christ, which he so gladly, when he can, re- 
bukes for idolatrous falsehoods, that had dared place 

Within the sanctuary itself their shrines. 
Abominations ! 

Now — thought of humiliation ! — he must entreat its aid. See ! there 
has the sly spirit of apostacy worked in a phrase, which favours the doc- 
trine of purgatory, the intercession of saints, or the efficacy of prayers 
for the dead. And what is worst of all, the interpretation is plausible. 
The original Hebrew might be forced into this meaning : and no other 
meaning seems to lie in it, none to hover above it in the heights of alle- 
gory, none to lurk beneath it even in the depths of Cabala ! This is 
the work of the tempter ! it is a cloud of darkness conjured up between 
the truth of the sacred letters and the eyes of his understanding, by the 
malice of the evil one, and for a trial of his faith ! Must he then at 
length confess, must he subscribe the name of Luther to an exposition 
which consecrates a weapon for the hand of the idolatrous hierarchy ? 
Never ! never ! 

There still remains one auxiliary in reserve, the translation of the 
seventy. The Alexandrine Greeks, anterior to the Church itself, could 
intend no support to its corruptions — the Septuagint will have profaned 
the altar of truth with no incense for the nostrils of the universal bishop 
to snuff up. And here again his hopes are baffled 1 Exactly at this 
perplexed passage had the Greek translator given his understanding a 

Essay 2. 87 

holiday, and made his pen supply its place. honoured Luther ! as 
easily inightest thou convert the whole city of Eome, with the Pope and 
the conclave of Cardinals inclusive, as strike a spark of light from tha 
words, and nothing but words, of the Alexandrine Version. Disajv 
pointed, despondent, enraged, ceasing to think, yet continuing his brain 
on the stretch in solicitation of a thought ; and gradually giving him« 
self up to angry fancies, to recollections of past persecutions, to uneasy 
fears and inward defiances and floating images of the evil being, their 
supposed personal author ; he sinks, without perceiving it, into a trance 
of slumber : during which his brain retains its waking energies, ex- 
cepting that what would have been mere thoughts before, now (the 
action and counterweight of his senses and of their impressions being 
withdrawn,) shape and condense themselves into things, into realities ! 
Eepeatedly half-wakening, and his eye-lids as often re-closing, the objects 
which really surround him form the place and scenery of his dream. All 
at once he sees the archrfiend coming forth on the wall of the room, 
from the very spot perhaps on which his eyes had been fixed vacantly 
during the perplexed moments of his former meditation ; the ink-stand, 
which he had at the same time been irsing, becomes associated with it ; 
and in that struggle of rage, which in these distempered dreams almost 
constantly precedes the helpless terror by the pain of which we are 
finally awakened, he imagines that he hurls it at the intruder, or not 
improbably in the first instant of awakening, while yet both his imagi- 
nation and his eyes are possessed by the dream, he actually hurls it. 
Some weeks after, perhaps, during which interval he had often mused 
on the incident, undetermined whether to deem it a visitation of Satan 
to him in the body or out of the body, he discovers for the first time 
the dark spot on his wall, and receives it as a sign and pledge vouch- 
safed to him of the event having actually taken place. 

Such was Luther under the influences of the age and country in and 
for which he was born. Conceive him a citizen of Geneva, and a con- 
temporary of Voltaire : suppose the French language his mother-tongue, 
and the political and moral philosophy of English free-thinkers remo- 
delled by Parisian fort esprits, to have been the objects of his study ; — 
conceive this change of circumstances, and Luther will no longer dream 
of fiends or of anti-Christ — but will he have no dreams in their place? 
His melancholy will have changed its drapery ; but will it find no new 
costume Avherewith to clothe itself? His impetuous temperament, his 
deep-working mind, his busy and vivid imaginations — would they not 
have been a trouble to him in a world, where nothing was to be altered, 
where nothing was to obey his power, to cease to be that which it had 
been, in order to realize his preconceptions of what it ought to be? His 
sensibility, which found objects for itself, and shadows of l*^man sufi"ering 
111 the harmless brute, and even in the flowers which he trod upon — might 

88 Tfte First Landing-Place. 

It not naturally, in an unspi ritualized age, have wept, and trembled, and 
dissolved, over scenes of earthly passion, and the struggles of love with 
duty? His pity, that so easily passed into rage, would it not have 
found in the inequalities of mankind, in the oppressions of governments 
and the miseries of the governed, an entire instead of a divfded object ? 
And might not a perfect constitution, a government of pure reason, a 
renovation of the social contract, have easily supplied the place of the 
reign of Christ in the new Jerusalem, of the restoratiou of the visible 
Church, and the union of all men by one faith in one charity? Hence- 
forward then, we will conceive his reason employed in building up anew 
the edifice of earthly society, and his imagination as pledging itself for 
the possible realization of the structure. We will lose the great reformer, 
who was born in an age which needed him, in the philosopher of 
Geneva, who was doomed to misapply his energies to materials the 
properties of which he misunderstood, and happy only that he did not 
live to witness the direful effects of his system. 


Pectora cui credam ? quis me lenire docebit 
Mordaces curas, quis longas fallere noctes 
Ex quo summa dies tulerit Damona Bub umbras i 
Omnia paulatim oonsumlt longior aatas, 
Vivendoque simul morimur, rapimnrque manendo. 
Ite tamen, lacrymse ! purum colis aitliera, Damon ! 
Nee mihi conveniuni lacrymse. Non omnia terrze 
Obruta ! vivit amor, vivit dolor ! ora negatur 
Dulcia conspicere : flere et meminisse relictum est. 

THE two following essays I devote to elucidation, the first of the theory 
of Luther's apparitions stated perhaps too briefly in the preceding 
number : the second for the purpose of removing the only difficulty, which 
I can discover in the next section of The Friend, to the reader's ready 
comprehension of the principles, on which the arguments are grounded. 
First, I will endeavour to make my ghost-theory more clear to those oi 
my readers, who are fortunate enough to find it obscure in consequence 
of their own good health and unshattered nerves. The window of my 
library at Keswick is opposite to the fire-place, and looks out on the very 
large garden that occupies the whole slope of the hill on which the house 
stands. Consequently, the rays of light transmitted through the •^'lasa 
{i.e. the rays from the garden, the opposite mountains, and^the bridge, 
river, lake, and vale interjacent) and the rays reflected from it (of tiie 
fire-place, &c.) enter the eye at the same moment. At the comin^^ on 
of evening, it was my frequent amusement to watch the image or re- 
flection of the fire, that seemed burning in the bushes or between thu 
ti'ees in different parts of the garden or the fields beyond it, according 

Essay 3. 89 

(US there was more or less light ; and which still arranged itself among 
the real objects of vision, with a distance and magnitude proportioned 
to its greater or lesser faintness. For still as the darkness increased, the 
image of the fire lessened and grew nearer and more distinct ; till the 
twilight had deepened into perfect night, when al 1 outward objects being 
excluded, the window became a perfect looking-glass : save only that my 
books on the side shelves of the room were lettered, as it were, on their 
backs with stars, more or fewer as the sky was more or less clouded, 
(the rays of the stars being at that time the only ones transmitted). 
Now substitute the phantom from Luther's brain for the images of re- 
flected light (the fire for instance), and the forms of his room and it^ 
furniture for the transmitted rays, and you have a fair resemblance of 
an apparition, and a just conception of the manner in which it is seen 
together with real objects. I have long wished to devote an entire work 
to the subject of dreams, visions, ghosts, witchcraft, &c. in which I 
might first give, and then endeavour to explain the most interesting 
and best attested fact of each, which has come within my knowledge, 
either from books or from personal testimony. I might then explain in 
a more satisfactory way the mode in which our thoughts, in states of 
morbid slumber, become at times perfectly dramatic (for in certain sorts 
of dreams the dullest wight becomes a Shakespeare), and by what law 
the form of the vision appears to talk to us its own thoughts in a voice as 
audible as the shape is visible ; and this too oftentimes in connected trains, 
and not seldom even with a concentration of power which may easily 
impose on the soundest judgements, uninstructed in the optics and 
acoustics of the inner sense, for revelations and gifts of prescience. In 
aid of the present case, I will only remark, that it would appear incre- 
dible to persons not accustomed to these subtle notices of self-observa- 
tion, what small and remote resemblances, what mere hints of likeness 
from some real external object, especially if the shape be aided by colour, 
will suffice to make a vivid thought consubstantiate with the real object, 
and derive from it an outward perceptibility. Even when we are broad 
awake, if we are in anxious expectation, how often will not the most 
confused sounds of nature be heard by us as articulate sounds ? For 
instance, the babbling of a brook will appear for a moment the voice of 
a friend, for whom we are waiting, calling out our own names, &c. A 
short meditation, therefore, on the great law of the imagination, that a 
likeness in part tends to become a likeness of the whole, will make it 
not only conceivable but probable, that the inkstand itself, and the dark- 
coloured stone on the wall, which Luther perhaps had never till then 
noticed, might have * considerable influence in the production of the 
fiend, and of the hostile act by which his obtrusive visit was repelled. 

A lady once asked me if I believed in ghosts and apparitions. I an- 
twered with truth and simplicity : " No, madam ! I have seen far too 

'^(5 The First Landing-Place. 

many myself." I have indeed a whole memorandum-book filled vith 
records of these phsenomena, many of them interesting as facta and data 
for psychology, and affording some valuable materials for a theory of 
perception and its dependence on the memory and imagination. "In 
omnem actum perceptionis imaginatio influit efficienter." ^ Wolfe. But 
he is no more who would have realized this idea, who had already 
established the foundations and the law of the theory ; and for whom 
1 had so often found a pleasure and a comfort, even during the wretched 
•and restless nights of sickness, in watching and instantly recording these 
experiences of the world within us, of the " gemina natura, quce Jit et 
facit, et creat et creatur !" He is gone, my friend ! my munificent co- 
patron, and not less the benefactor of my intellect!— He who, beyond 
all other men known to me, added a fine and ever-wakeful sense of 
beauty to the most patient accuracy in experimental philosophy and 
the profounder researches of metaphysical science ; he who united all 
the play and spring of fancy with the subtlest discrimination and an 
inexorable judgment ; and who controlled an almost painful exquisite- 
ness of taste by a warmth of heart, which in the practical relations of 
life made allowances for faults as quick as the moral taste detected them ; 
a warmth of heart, which was indeed noble and pre-eminent, for alas ! 
the genial feelings of health contributed no spark towards it ! Of these 
qualities I may speak, for they belonged to all mankind. — The higher 
virtues, that were blessings to his friends, and the still higher that re- 
sided in and for his own soul, are themes for the energies of solitude, for 
the awfulness of prayer ! — virtues exercised in the barrenness and deso- 
lation of his animal being ; while he thirsted with the full stream at 
his lips, and yet with unwearied goodness poured out to all around him, 
like the master of a feast among his kindred in the day of his own 
gladness ! Were it but for the remembrance of him alone and of ^''" 
lot here below, the disbelief of a future state would sadden the eartL 
ai-ound me, and blight the very grass in the field. 


XoAeTTOi', M Soiftovie, /u.t) 7ropoSet7| xP^M^voi' ixavm evSeUwaSaC ti tmv fx.£ifov<ovt Kiv 
Svve'uet yap ij/itbv e/cacTTOS olov ovap, 6i£(o; dnavTa, ■navr av TrdAiv Sxnrep virap ayuoeiv 

Plato, Polit. p. 47, Ed. Bip. 

{Translation.)— It is difficult, excellent friend! to make any CMmprebensive truth com- 
pletely intelligible, unless we avail ourselves of an example. Otherwise we may as in a 
dream, seem to know all, and then as it were, awaking find that we know nothing. Plato. 

AMONG my earliest impressions I still distinctly remember that of my 
first entrance into the mansion of a neighbouring baronet, awfully 
known to me by the name ot the Great House, its exterior having been 
long connected in my childish imagination with the feelings and fanciea" 

Essay 4. 91 

stirred up in me by the perusal of the Arabian Nights' Eniertainmeuts.* 
Beyond all other objects, I was most strack with the magnificent stair- 
case, relieved at well-proportioned intervals by spacious landing-places, 
this adorned with grand or showy plants, the next looking out on an 
extensive prospect through the stately window with its side panes of 
rich blues and saturated amber or orange tints : while from the last and 
highest the eye commanded the whole spiral ascent with the marbled 
pavement of the great hall from which it seemed to spring up as if it 
merely used the ground on which it rested. My readers will find no 
difficulty in translating these forms of the outward senses into their 
intellectual analogies, so as to understand the purport of The Friend's 
landing-places, and the objects, he proposed to himself, in the small 
groups of essays interposed under this title between the main divisions 
of the work. 

My best powers would have sunk within me, had I not soothed my 
solitary toils with the anticipation of many readers — (whether during 
the writer's life, or when his grave shall have shamed his detractors 
into a sympathy with its own silence, formed no part in this self-flattery,) 
who would submit to any reasonable trouble rather than read " as in a 
dream seeming to know all, to find on awaking that they know no-" 
thing." Having, therefore, in the three preceding numbers selected 
from my conservatory a few plants, of somewhat gayer petals and a 
liveher green, though like the geranium tribe of a sober character in the 
whole physiognomy and odour, I shall first devote a few sentences to a 
catalogue raisonn^ of my introductory lucubrations, and the remainder 
of the essay to the prospect, as far as it can be seen distinctly from our 
present site. Within a short distance, several ways meet : and at that 
point only does it appear to me that the reader will be in danger of 
mistaking the road. Dropping the metaphor, I would say that there is 
one term, the meaning of which has become unsettled. To different 
persons it conveys a different idea, and not seldom to the same person 
at different times; while the force, and to a certain extent, the intelli- 
gibility of the following sections depend on its being interpreted in one 
Bense exclusively. 

Essays from I. to IV. inclusive convey the design and contents of the 
work ; The Friend's judgment respecting the style, and his defence of 
himself from the charges of arrogance and presumption. Say rather, 
that such are the personal threads of the discourse : for it will not have 

As I had read one volume of these tales dread and intense desire I used to look at the 
over and over again before my fifth birth- volume and watch it, till the morning sun- 
day, It may be readily conjectured of what shine had reached and nearly covered it, 
sort these fancies and feelings must have when, and not before, 1 felt the courage given 
been. The book, I well remember, used to me to seize the precious treasure and hurry 
lie in a corner of the parlour-window at my off with it to some sunny corner in our play- 
dear father's vicarage-house: and I can never ground, 
forget with what a Btr«s3ge mixture of obscure 

92 The First Landing-Place. 

escaped the reader's observation, that even in these pnfatory pages 
principles and truths of general interest form the true contents, ami that 
amid all the usual compliments and courtesies of The Friend's first 
presentation of himself to his reader's acquaintance the substantial 
object is still to assert the practicability, without disguising the diffi- 
culties, of improving the morals of mankind by a direct appeal to their 
understandings ; to show the distinction between attention and thought, 
and the necessity of the former as a habit or discipline without which 
the very word, thinking, must remain a thoughtless substitute for 
dreaming with our eyes open ; and lastly, the tendency of a certain 
fashionable style with all its accommodations to paralyse the very 
faculties of manly intellect by a series of petty stimulants. After this 
preparation The Friend proceeds at once to lay the foundations common 
to the whole work by an inquiry into the duty of communicating truth, 
and the conditions under which it may be communicated with safety, 
from the fifth to the sixteenth essay inclusive. Each essay will, ho 
believes, be found complete in itself, yet an organic part of the whole 
considered as one disquisition. First, the inexpediency of pious frauds is 
proved from history, the shameless assertion of the indifference of truth 
and falsehood exposed to its deserved infamy, and an answer given to 
the objection derived from the impossibility of conveying an adequate 
notion of the truths, we may attempt to communicate. The conditions 
are then detailed, under which, right though inadequate notions may be 
taught without danger, and proofs given, both from facts and from 
reason, that he, who fulfils the conditions required by conscience, takes 
the surest way of answering the purposes of prudence. This is, indeed, 
the main characteristic of the moral system taught by The Friend 
throughout, that the distinct foresight of consequences belongs exclu- 
sively to that Infinite Wisdom which is one with that Almighty Will, 
on which all consequences depend ; but that for man — to obey the 
simple unconditional commandment of eschewing every act that implies 
a self-contradiction, or in other words, to produce and maintain the 
greatest possible harmony in the component impulses and faculties of 
his nature, involves the effects of prudence. It is, as it were, prudence 
in short-hand or cipher. A pure conscience, that inward something, 
that Oeos o'lKfios, which being absolutely unique no man can describe, 
because every man is bound to Icnow, and even in the eye of the law is 
held to be a person no longer than he may be supposed to know it—; 
the conscience, I say, bears the same relation to God, as an accurate 
time-j.viece bears to the sun. The time-piece merely indicates the 
relative path of the sun, yet we can regulate our plans and proceedings 
by it with the same confidence as if it was itself the efficient cause of 
light, heat, and the revolving seasons : on the self-evident axiom, that 
in whatever sense two things, lor instance, A. and C D £. are both 

Essay 4. 93 

eqa&l to a third thing B. they are in the same sense equal to each 
other. Cunning is circuitous folly. In plain English, to act the knave 
is but a round-about way of playing the fool ; and the man, who will 
not permit himself to call an action by its proper name without a previous 
calculation of all its proba,ble consequences, may be indeed only a 
coxcomb, who is looking at his fingers through an opera glass ; but he 
runs no small risk of becoming a knave. The chances are against him. 
Though he should begin by calculating the consequences with regard to 
others, yet by the merehabitof never contemplating an action in its own 
])roiX)rtions and immediate relations to his moral being, it is scarcely pos- 
sible but that he must end in selfishness : for the ' you,' and the ' they ' 
will stand on different occasions for a thousand different persons, while 
the ' I ' is one only, and recurs in every calculation. Or grant that the 
principle of expediency should prompt to the same outward deeds as 
are commanded by the law of reason ; yet the doer himself is debased. 
But if it be replied, that the reaction on the agent's own mind is to 
form a part of the calculation, then it is a rule that destroys itself in the 
very propounding, as will be more fully demonstrated in the second or 
ethical division of The Friend, when we shall have detected and exposed 
the equivoque between an action and the series of motions by which the 
determinations of the will are to be realized in the world of the senses. 
What modification of the latter corresponds to the former, and is entitled 
to be called by the same name, will often de[ end on time, place, per- 
sons and circumstances, the consideration of which requires an exertion 
of the judgment ; but the action itself remains the same, and like all 
other ideas pre-exists in the reason,* or (in the more expr(issive and 
perhaps more precise and philosophical language of St. Paul,) in the 
spirit, unalterable because unconditional, or with no other than that 
most awful condition, as sure as God liveth, it is so ! 

These remarks are inserted in this place, because the principle admits 
of easiest illustration in the instance of veracity and the actions con- 
nected with the same, and may then be intelligibly applied to other 
departments of morality, all of which WoUston indeed considers as 
only so many different forms of truth and falsehood. So far The Friend 
has treated of oral communication of the truth. The applicability of 
the same principle is then tried and affirmed in publications by the 
pi-ess, first as between the individual and his own conscience and then 
between the publisher and the state : and under this head The Friend 
has considered at large the questions of a free press and the law of libel, 
the anomalies and peculiar difficulties of the latter, and the only pos- 
sible solution compatible wi-th the continuance of the former : a solution 
rising out of and justified by the necessarily anomalous and unique 
nature of the law itself. He confesses, that he looks back on thia 

* See the Statesmar.'s Manual, p. 2'i. 

94 The First Landing-Place. 

discussion concerning the press and its limits with a satisfaction uti* 
usual to him in the review of his own labours : and if the date of their 
first publication (September, 1801)) be remembered, it will not perhaps 
be denied, on an impartial comparison, that he has treated this most 
important subject (so especially interesting in the present times) more 
fully and more systematically than it had hitherto been. Interim turn 
recti conscientia, turn illo me consohr, quod optimis quidusque certe non 
imjyrobamuTffortassis omnibus placituri, simul atque livor ah obitu can- 

Lastly, the subject is concluded even as it commenced, and as 
beseemed a disquisition placed as the steps and vestibule of the whole 
work, with an enforcement of the absolute necessity of principles 
grounded in reason as the basis or rather as the living root of all genuine 
expediency. "Where these are despised or at best regarded as aliens 
from the actual business of life, and consigned to the ideal world of 
speculative philosophy and Utopian politics, instead of state-wisdom we 
shall have state-craft, and for the talent of the governor the cleverness 
of an embarrassed spendthrift — which consists in tricks to shift off 
difficulties and dangers when they are close upon lis, and to keep them 
at arm's length, not in solid and grounded courses to preclude or subdue 
them. We must content ourselves with expedient-makers — with fire- 
engines against fires, life-boats against inundations; but no houses 
built fire-proof, no dams that rise above the water-mark. The reader 
will have observed that already has the term, reason, been frequently 
contradistinguished from the understanding and the judgment. If The 
Friend could succeed in fully explaining the sense in which the word 
reason, is employed by him, and in satisfying the reader's mind con- 
cerning the grounds and imiwrtance of the distinction, he would feel 
little or no apprehension concerning the intelhgibility of these essays 
from fir^t to last. The following section is in part founded on this 
distinction: the which remaining obscure, all else will be so as a 
system, however clear the component paragraphs may be, taken sepa- 
rately. In the appendix to his first Lay Sermon, the author has indeed 
treated the question at considerable length, but chiefly in relation to 
the heights of theology and metaphysics. In the next number he 
attempts to explain himself more popularly, and trusts that with no 
great expenditure of attention the reader will satisfy his mind, that our 
remote ancestors spoke as men acquainted with the constituent parts of 
their own moral and intellectual being, when they described one man as 
being out of his senses, another as out of his wits, or deranged in his 
undei'standing, and a third as having lost his reason. Observe, the 
understanding may be deranged, weakened or perverted ; but the reasoa 
is either lest or not lost, that is, wholly present or wholly absent. 

Essay 5. 95 


Man may rather be defined a religious than a rational character, in regard that in other 
creatures there may be something of reason, but there is nothing of religion. 


If the reader will substitute the word " understanding " for " reason," 
and the word " reason " for " religion," Harrington has here completely 
expressed the truth for which The Friend is contending. But that this 
was Harrington's meaning is evident. Otherwise instead of comparing 
two faculties with each other, he would contrast a faculty with one of 
its own objects, which would involve the same absurdity as if he had 
said, that naan might rather be defined an astronomical than a seeing 
animal, because other animals possessed the sense of sight, but were in- 
capable of beholding the satellites of Saturn, or the nebulas of fixed 
stars. If further confirmation be necessary, it may be supplied by the 
follovring reflections, the leading thought of which I remember to have 
read in the works of a continental philosopher. It should seem easy to 
give the definite distinction of the reason from the understanding, 
because we constantly imply it when we speak of the difference between 
ourselves and the brute creation. No one, except as a figure of speech, 
ever speaks of an animal reason ; * but that many animals possess a 
shave of understanding, perfectly distinguishable from mere instinct, we 
all allow. Few persons have a favourite dog without making instances 
if its intelligence an occasional topic of conversation. They call for our 
admiration of the individual animal, and not with exclusive reference to 
the wisdom in nature, as in the case of the a-Topyr] or maternal instinct of 
beasts ; or of the hexangular cells of the bees, and the wonderful coinci- 
dence of this form with the geometrical demonstration of the largest 
ix)ssible number of rooms in a given space. Likewise, we distinguish 
various degrees of understanding there, and even discover from induc- 
tions supplied by the zoologists, that the understanding appears (as a 
general rule) in an inverse proportion to the instinct. We hear little or 
nothing of the instincts of " the half-reasoning elephant," and as little 
of the understauding of caterpillars and butterflies. (N. 15. Though 
reasoning does not in our language, in the lax use of words natural in. 

* I have this moment looked over a trans- naturalists, Blumenbach remained ardent and 

lation of Blumenbach's Physiology by Dr. instant in controverting the opinion, and ex- 

EUiotson, which forms a glaring exception, posingitsfallacy and falsehood, both as a man 

p- 45. I do not know, Dr. EUiotson, but I of sense and as a naturalist. I may truly say, 

do know- Professor Blumenbach, and was an that it was uppermost in his heart and fore* 

assiduous attendant on the lectures, of which most in his speech. Therefore, and from no 

this classical work was the text- book : and 1 hostile feeling to Dr. EUioison (whom 1 hear 

know that that good and great man would spoken of with great regard and respect, an<l 

Btart back with surprise and indignation at to whom I myself give credit for his manly 

the gross materialism morticed on to his openness in the avowal of his opinions'), 1 

work : the more so because during the whole have felt the present animadversion a duty 

period, in which the identitication of man of justice as well as gratitude, 
with the brute in kind was tlie fashion of S. T. C. 8 April, 18J I. 

96 The First Landing-Place. 

converSAtion or popular writings, imply scientific conclusion, yet tlij 
plu-ase " half-reasoning " is evidently used by Pope as a poetic hyper- 
bole.) But reason is wholly denied, equally to the highest as to the 
lowest of the hrutes ; otherwise it must be wholly attributed to them, 
and with it therefore self-consciousness, and personality, or moral being. 
I should have no objection to define reason with Jacolni, and with hia 
friend Hemsterhuis, as an organ bearing the same relation to spiritual 
objects, the universal, the eternal, and the necessary, as the eye bears to 
material and contingent phenomena. But then it must be added, that 
it is an organ identical with its appropriate objects. Thus God, the 
soul, eternal truth, &c. are the objects of reason ; but they are them- 
eelvfiff reason. We name God the Supreme Eeason ; and Milton says, 
" Whence the soul reason receives, and reason is her being." Whatever 
is conscious self-knowledge is reason ; and in this sense it may be safely 
defined the organ of the supersensuous ; even as the understanding 
wherever it does not possess or use the reason, as another and inward 
eye, may be defined the conception of the sensuous, or the faculty by 
which we generalize and arrange the phsenomena of perception : 
that faculty, the functions of which contain the rules and constitute 
the possibility of outward experience. In short, the understanding 
supposes something that is understood. This may be merely its own 
acts or forms, that is, formal logic ; but real objects, the materials of 
substantial knowledge, must be furnished, we might safely say revealed, 
to it by organs of sense. I'he understanding of the higher brutes has 
only organs of outward sense, and consequently material objects onlv ; 
but man's understanding has likewise an organ of inward sense, and 
therefore the power of acquainting itself with invisible realities or 
spiritual objects. This organ is his reason. Again, the understanding 
and experience may exist* without reason. But reason cannot exist 
without understanding ; nor does it or can it manifest itself but in and 
through the understanding, which in our elder writers is often called 
discourse, or the discursive faculty, as by Hooker, Lord Bacon, and 
Hobbes : and an understanding enlightened by reason Shakespeare 
gives as the contra-distinguishing character of man, under the name 
" discourse of reason." In short, the human understanding possesses two 
distinct organs, the outward sense, and " the mind's eye " which is 
reason : wherever we use that phrase (the mind's eye) in its proper 
s<jnse, and not as a mere synonyme of the memory or the fancy. In 
this way we reconcile the promise of revelation, that the blessed will see 

• Of this no one would feel inclined to only to hatch the eggs of the hen with all the 

*mbt, who had seen the poodle dog, whom mother's care and patience, but to attend tlw 

Uie celebrated Blumenbach, a name so dear chiclcen afterwards, and find the food for them, 

to science as a physiologist and comparative I have myself known a Newfoundland dog 

•natomist, and not less dear as a man, to all who watched and guarded a family of young 

Englishmen who have resided at GOtiiugen in children with all the intelligenc« of a uune, 

the *(MirB« of their education, trainee up, not during their walks. 

Eisay 5. 97 

God, with the declaration of St. John, God hath no one seen at any 
time. ■' 

We will add one other illustration to prevent any K.isconception, as if 
we were dividing the human soul into different essences, or ideal 
persons. In this piece of steel I acknowledge the properties of hardness, 
brittleness, high polish, and the capability of forming a mirror. I find 
all these likewise in the plate glass of a friend's carriage ; but in addition 
to all these, I find the quality of transparency, or the power of trans- 
mitting as well as of reflecting the rays of light. The application is 

If the reader therefore will take the trouble of hearing in mind these 
and the following explanations, he will have removed beforehand every 
possible difSculty from The Friend's political section. For there is 
another use of the word reason, arising out of the former indeed, but 
less definite, and more exposed to misconception. In this latter use it 
means the understanding considered as usiag the reason, so far as by the 
organ of reason only we possess the ideas of the necessary and the 
universal ; and this is the more common use of the word, when it is 
applied with any attempt at clear and distinct conceptions. In this 
narrower and derivative sense the best definition of reason, which I can 
give, will be found in the third member of the following sentence, in 
which the understanding is described in its threefold operation, and 
from each receives an appropriate name. The sense {vis sensitiva vel 
mtuitiva) perceives ; Vis regulatrix (the understanding, in its own 
peculiar operation) conceives ; Vis rationalis (the reason or rational- 
ized understanding) comprehends. The first is impressed through the 
organs of sense ; the second combines these multifarious impressions 
into individual notions, and byreducmg these notions to rules, according 
to the analogy of all its former notices, constitutes experience ; the third 
subordinates both these notions and the rules of experience to absolute 
principles or necessary laws : and thus concerning objects, which our 
experience has proved to have real existence, it demonstrates moreover, 
in what way they are possible, and in doing this constitutes science. 
Reason therefore, in this secondary sense, and used, not as a spiritual 
organ but as a faculty (namely, the understanding or soul enlightened 
by that organ) — reason, I say, or the scientific faculty, is the intellection 
of the possibility or essential properties of things b}' means of the laws 
that constitute them. Thus the rational idea of a circle is that of a 
figure constituted by the circumvolution of a straight hue with its one 
end fixed. 

Every man must feel, that though he may not be exerting difierent 
faculties, he is exerting his faculties in a different way, when in one 
instance he begins with some one self-evident truth, (that the radii of a 
circle, for instance, are all equal,^ and in consequence of t\iis being truo 


yS The First Landing-Place. 

sees at once, without any actual experience, that some ether thing must 
he true likewise, and that, this being true, some third thing must he 
equally true, and so on till he comes, we will say, to the properties of 
the lever, considered sa the spoke of a circle ; which is capable of having 
all its marvellous powers demonstrated even to a savage who had never 
seen a lever, and without supposing any other previous knowledge in his 
mind, but this one, that there is a conceivable figure, all possible lines 
from the middle to the circumference of which are of the same length : or 
when, in the second instance, he brings together the facts of experience, each 
of which has its own separate value, neither increased nor diminished by 
the truth of any other fact which may have preceded it ; and making 
these several facts bear upon some particular project, and finding some 
in favour of it, and some against it, determines for or against the project, 
according as one or the other class of facts preponderate : as, for instance, 
wliethei- it would be better to plant a particular spot of ground with 
larch, or with Scotch fir, or with oak in preference to either. Surely, 
every man will acknowJedge, that his mind was very differently em- 
ployed in the first case from what it was in the second ; and all men 
have agreed to call the results of the first class the truths of science 
Buch as not only are true, but which it is impossible to conceive other- 
wise-; while the results of the second class are called facts, or things of 
experience ; and as to these latter we must often content ourselves with 
the greater probability, that they are so, or so, rather than otherwise — 
nay, even when we have no doubt that they are so in the particular 
case, we never presume to assert that they must continue so always, and 
under all circumstances. On the contrary, our conclusions depend 
altogether on contingent circumstances. Now when the mind is 
employed, as in the case first mentioned, I call it reasoning, or the use 
of the pirre reason ; but, in the second case, the understanding or pru- 

This reason applied to the motives of our conduct, and combined with 
the sense of our moral responsibility, is the conditional cause of con- 
science, which is a spiritual sense or testifying state of the coincidence or 
discordance of the free will with the reason. But as the reasoning 
consists wholly in a man's power of seeing, whether any two ideas, which 
happen to be in his mind, are, or are not in contradiction with each 
other, it follows of necessity, not only that all men have reason, but 
that every man has it in the same degree. For reasoning (or reason, in 
this its secondary sense) does not consist in the ideas, or in their clear- 
ness, but simply, when they are in the mind, in seeing whether they 
contradict each other or no. 

And again, as in the determinations of conscience the only knowledge 
required is that of my own intention — whether in doing such a thing, 
instead of leaving it undone, I did what I should think right if anf 


Essay 5. 99 

other person had done it ; it follows that in the mere question of guilt 
or innocence, all men have not only reason equally, but likewise all the 
materials on which the reason, considered as conscience, is to work. 
But when we pass out of ourselves, and speak, not exclusively of the 
agent as meaning well or ill, but of the action in its consequences, then 
of course experience is required, judgment in making use of it, and all 
those other qualities of the mind which are so differently dispensed to 
different persons, both by nature and education. And though the 
reason itself is the same in all men, yet the means of exercising it, and 
the materials (i. e. the facts and ideas) on which it is exercised, being 
possessed in very different degi-ees by different persons, the practical 
result is, of course, equally different, and the whole groundwork of 
Eousseau's philosophy ends in a mere nothingism. Even in that branch 
of knowledge, on which the ideas, on the congruity of which with each 
other the reason is to decide, are all possessed alike by all men, namely, 
in geometry, (for all men in their senses possess all the component 
images, viz. simple curves and straight lines) yet the power of attention 
required for the perception of linked truths, even of such truths, is so 
very different in A and in B, that Sir Isaac Newton professed that it 
was in this power only that he was superior to ordinary men. In short, 
the sophism is as gross as if I should say — the souls of all men have the 
faculty of sight in an equal degree — forgetting to add, that this faculty 
cannot be exercised without eyes, and that some men are blind, and 
others short-sighted, &c. — and should then take advantage of this my 
omission to conclude against the use or necessity of spectacles, micro- 
scopes, &c., or of choosing the sharpest-sighted men for our guides. 

Having exposed this gross sophism, I must warn against an opposite 
error — namely, that if reason, as distiD2.uished from prudence, consists, 
merely in knowing that black cannot be white — or when a man has a, 
dear conception of an inclosed figure, and another equally clear concep- 
tion of a straight line, his reason teaches him that these two conceptions 
are incompatible in the same object, i. e. that two straight lines cannot 
include a space — the said reason must be a very insignificant faculty. 
But a moment's steady self-reflection will show us, that in the simple 
determination " black is not white "—or, " that two straight lines cannot 
include a space," — all the powers are implied that distinguish man from 
animals— 1st, the power of reflection ; 2nd, of comparison ; 3rd, and 
therefore of suspension of the mind ; 4th, therefore of a controlling will, 
and the power of acting from notions, instead of mere images exciting 
appetites ; from motives, and not from mere dark instincts. Was it an 
insignificant thing to weigh the planets, to determine all their courses, 
and prophesy every possible relation of the heavens a thousand years 
hence ? Yet all this mighty chain of science is nothing but a linking- 
together of truths of the same kind, as, the whoh is greater than ita 

100 Tlie First Landing-Place. 

part :— or, if A and B = C, then A = B:or 3 + 4 = 7, therefore 7 + 5 
= 12, and so forth. X is to be found either in A or B, or C or D : It 
is not found in A, B, or C, therefore it is to be found in D.— What can be 
simpler? Apply this to a brute animal— a dog misses his master where 
four roads meet — he has come up one, smells to two of the others, and 
then with his head aloft darts forward to the third road without any 
examination. If this was done by a conclusion, the dog would have 
reason — how comes it then, that he never shows it in his ordinary 
habits ? Why does this story excite either wonder or incredulity ? — If 
the story be a fact, and not a fiction, I should say — the breeze brought 
his master's scent down the fourth road to the dog's nose, and that 
therefore he did not put it down to the road, as in the two former 
instances. So awful and almost miraculous does the simple act of 
concluding, that take 3 from 4 there remains one, appear to ub when 
attributed to the most sagacious of all brute animals. 


§)t(tian life ^ixSt 




102 The Friend. 


DmnpolUici scepiusdOe Tiominibus magis insidiantur qmm consulwra, potius callidi quam 
tapienm ; theoretwi e contrario se rem divinam facere et sapientiarculmen attingere creduiO, 
quando Irnmanam natwram, quas nullM, est, multis modu laudare, et earn, q>uB re vera ett, 
dictis lacessere norunt. Unde factum est, vt nunquam politicam conceperirU qua possit ad 
usum reoocoH ; sed quce in Utopid vel in illopodarwm aureo stsculo, uU scilicet minime ttecesse 
erat, tnstitui potuisset. At mihi plane persuadeo, experientiam omnia civitatum genera, 
qim condpiposmmt id homines cvncorditer vivant, et simul media, quHmt muUitvdo dMgi, 
ieu quibits intra certos limites contineri debeat, ostendisse: ita vt non eredam, not potte 
aliquid, quod ah experientid sive praxi rum abhorreat, cogitatione de hoc re assegui, quad 
nondum expertwm compertumque sit. 

Cum igUw animwm, ad politicam applicuerim, nihil qiMd novum vel inaudiium est; sed 
tantwm ea quce cum praxi optime conveniimt, certa et indubitata ratione demxmstrare out ez 
ipsa hwnum<z natwrae conditions deducere, intendi. Etvtea quw ad hanc sdentiam spetAoM, 
eadem animi libertate, qud res mathematicas solemiis, inquirerem, sed/ulo curavi hvmanas 
actiones non ridere, non lugere, neqite detestari ; sed intelligere. Nee ad imperii securitatem 
refert quo animo homines indvcanlur ad res rede administrandas, modo res recte adminit- 
trenfur. Animi enim'Kbertas, seufiyrtitudo, privata virtys est; ai imperii virtus setmriias. 

Spdjoza, Op. Post. p. 267. 

(JVansJaiiow.)— While the mere practical statesman too often rather plots against man- 
kind, than consults their interest, crafty not wise ; the mere theorists, on the other hand, 
imagine that they are employed in a glorious work, and believe themselves at the very 
summit of earthly wisdom, when they are able, in set and varied language, to extol that 
human nature, which exists nowhere (except indeed in their own fancy), and to accuse and 
vilify our nature as it really is. Hence it has happened, that these men have never con- 
ceived a practical scheme of civil policy, but, at best, such forms of government only, as 
might have been instituted in Utopia, or during the golden age of the poets : that is to say, 
forms of government excellently adapted for those who need no government at all. But I 
am fully persuaded, that experience has already brought to light aU conceivable sorts of 
political institutions under which human society can be maintained in concord, and likewise 
the chief means of directing the multitude, or retaining them within given boundaries : -so 
that I can hardly believe, that on this subject the deepest research would arrive at any 
result, not abhorrent from experience and practice, which has not been already tried and 

When, therefore, I applied my thoughts to the study of political economy, I proposed to 
myself nothing original or strange as the fruits of my reflections ; but simply to demonstrate 
from plain and undoubted principles, or to deduce frem the very condition and necessities of 
human nature, those plans and maxims which square the best with practice. And that in all 
things which relate to this province, I might conduct my investigations with the same 
freedom of intellect with which we proceed in questions of pure science, I sedulously dis- 
ciplined my mind neither to laugh at, or bewail, or detest, the actions of men ; bnt to nnder- 
staod them. For to the safety of the state it is not of necessary importance, what motives 
induce men to administer public affairs rightly, provided only that public affairs be rightly 
administered. For moral strength, or freedom from the selfish passions, is the virtue of 
individuals ; but security is the virtue of a state. 


ALL the different philosophical systems of political justice, all the 
theories on the rightful origin of government, are reducible in the 
end to three classes, correspondent to the three different points of view 
ii which the human being itself may be contemplated. The first denies 
all truth and distinct meaning to the words right and duty, and affirm- 
ing that the human mind consists of nothing but manifold modifications 
cf passive sensation, considers men as the highest sort of animals indeed 

Section 1. — Essay 1. 103 

but at the Sime time the most wretched ; inasmuch as their defenceless 
nature forces them into society, while such is the multiplicity of wants 
engendered by the social state, that the wishes of one are sure to he ic 
contradiction with those of some other. The assertora of this system 
consequently ascribe the origin and continuance of government to fear, 
or the power of the stronger, aided by the force of custom. This is the 
system of Hobbes. Its statement is its confutation. It is, indeed, in the 
literal sense of the word preposterous : for fear presupposes conquest, and 
conquest a previous union and agreement between the conquerors. A 
vast empire may perhaps be governed by fear ; at least the idea is not 
absolutely inconceivable, under circumstances which prevent the con- 
sciousness of a common strength. A million of men united by mu- 
tual confidence and free intercourse of thoughts form one power, and 
this is as much a real thing as a steam engine ; but a million of insu- 
lated individuals is only an abstraction of the mind, and but one told 
so many times over, without addition, as an idiot would tell the clock 
at noon — one, one, one, &c. But when, in the first instances, the 
descendants of one family joined together to attack those of another 
family, it is impossible that their chief or leader should have appeared 
to them stronger than all the rest together ; they must therefore have 
chosen him, and this as for particular purposes, so doubtless under par- 
ticular conditions, expressed or understood. Such we know to be the 
case with the North American tribes at present ; such, we are informed 
by history, was the case with our own remote ancestors. Therefore, 
even on the system of those who, in contempt of the oldest and most 
authentic records, consider the savage as the first and natural state oi 
man, government must have originated in choice and an agreement. 
The apparent exceptions in Africa and Asia are, if possible, still more 
subversive of this system : for they will be found to have originated in 
reUgious imposture, and the first chiefs to have secured a willing and 
enthusiastic obedience to themselves as delegates of the Deity. 

But the whole theory is baseless. We are told by history, we learn 
from our experience,- we know from our own hearts, that fear, of itself, 
is utterly incapable of producing any regular, continuous, and calculable 
effect, even on an individual ; and that the fear, which does act sys- 
tematically upon the mind, always presupposes a sense of duty, as its 
cause. The most cowardly of the European nations, the Neapolitans 
and Sicilians, those among whom the fear of death exercises the most 
t}Tannous influence relatively to their own persons, are the very men 
who least fear to take away the life of a fellow-citizen by poison or as- 
sassination ; while in Great Britain, a tyrant, who has abused the power, 
which a vast property has given him, to oppress a whole neighbour- 
hood, can walk in safety unarmed, and unattended, amid a hundred 
men each of whom feels his heart burn with rage and indignation at 

104 The Friend. 

the sight of him. "It was this man who broke my father's heart"— 
or, "It is through him that my children are clad in rags, and cry for 
the food which I am no longer able to provide for them." And yet they 
dare not touch a hair of his head ! Whence does this arise ? Is it from 
a cowardice of sensibility that makes the injured man shudder at the 
thought of shedding blood ? Or from a cowardice of selfishness which 
makes him afraid of hazarding his own life? Neither the one or the 
other ! The field of Waterloo, as the most recent of an hundred equal 
proofs has borne witness that 

Bring a Briton fra his, hill, 

• * * * * 

Say, such is Eoyal George's will. 

And there's the fos, 
He has nae thought but how to kill 

Twa at a blow. 
Nae cauld, faint-hearted doubtings tease him ; 
Death comes, wi' fearless eye he sees him ; 
Wi' bluidy hand a welcome gies him ; 

And when he fa's, ' 

His latest draught o' breathin' leaves him 

In faint huzzas." BtTBXs. 

Whence then arises the difference of feeling in the former case ? To 
what does the oppressor owe his safety ? To the spirit-quelling thought : 
the laws of God and of my country have made his life sacred ! I dare 
not touch a hair of his head ! — " 'Tis conscience that makes cowards of 
us all," — but oh ! it is conscience too which makes heroes of us all. 


LepCusfort n'est jamais assez fort pour etre toujours le maUre, s'U ne transforme sa force 
en droit et I'oheissance en devoir. Eotjssbau. 

Viribus parantur provindce, jure retinentur. Igitur breve id gaudium, quippe Germani 
victi magis, quam domiti. Flok. iv. 12, 

( 'lranslation.)—The strongest is never strong enough to be always the master, unless ho 
transform his power into right and obedience into duty. Eousseati, 

Provinces are taken by force, but they are kept by right. This exultation therefore was of 
brief continuance, inasmuch as the Germans had been overcome, but not subdued. 


A TRULY great man (the best and greatest public character that I had 
ever the opportunity of making myself acquainted with), on assuming 
the command of a man-of-war, found a mutinous crew, more than one 
half of them uneducated Irishmen, and of the remainder no small por- 
tion had become sailors by compromise of punishment. What terror 
could effect by severity and frequency of acts of discipline had been 
already effected. And what was this effect ? Something like that of a 
polar winter on a flask of brandy. The furious spirit concentrated 
itself with tenfold strength at the heart ; open violence was changed 

Section 1. — Essay 2. 105 

Irto secret plots and conspiracies ; and the consequent orderliness of the 
crew, as far as they were orderly, was but the brooding of a tempest. 
The new commander instantly commenced a system of discipline as 
near as possible to that of ordinary law— as much as possible, he 
avoided, in his own person, the appearance of any will or arbitrary 
power to vary, or to remit, punishment. The rules to be observed 
were affixed to a conspicuous part of the ship, with the particular pe- 
nalties for the breach of each particular rule ; and care was taken that 
every individual of the ship should know and understand this code. 
With a single exception in the case of mutinous behaviour, a space of 
twenty-four hours was appointed between the first charge and the 
second hearing of the cause, at Avhich time the accused person was per- 
mitted and required to bring forward whatever he thought conducive 
to his defence or palliation. If, as was commonly the case (for the 
officers well knew that the commander would seriously resent in them 
all caprice of will, and by no means permit to others what he denied to 
himself) if no answer could be returned to the three questions— Did you 
not commit the act ? Did you not know that it was in contempt of 
such a rale, and in defiance of such a punishment ? And was it not 
wholly in your own power to have obeyed the one and avoided the 
other? — the sentence was then passed with the greatest solemnity, 
and another, but shorter, space of time was again interposed between it 
and its actual execution. During this space the feelings of the com- 
mander, as a man, were so well blended with his inflexibility, as the 
organ of the law ; and how much he suffered previous to and during 
the execution of the sentence was so well known to the crew, that it 
became a common saying with them, when a sailor was about to be 
punished, " The captain takes it more to heart than the fellow himself," 
But whenever the commander perceived any trait of pride in the 
offender, or the germs of any noble feeling, he lost no opportunity of 
saying, " It is not the pain that you are about to suffer which grieves me ! 
You are none of you, I trust, such cowards as to turn faint-hearted at 
the thought of that ! but that, being a man, and one who is to fight for 
his king and country, you should have made it necessary to treat you 
as a vicious beast, it is this that grieves me." 

I have been assured, both by a gentleman who was a lieutenant on 
board that ship at the time when the heroism of its captain, aided by 
his characteristic calmness and foresight, greatly influenced the decision 
of the most glorious battle recorded in the annals of our naval glory ; 
and very recently by a grey-headed sailor, who did not even know my 
name, or could have suspected that I was previously acquainted with the 
circumstances— I have been assured, I say, that the success of this plan 
was such as astonished the oldest officers, and convinced the most incre- 
dulous. Buffians, who like the old Buccaneers, had been used to inflict 

106 The Friend 

torture on tkemselves for sport, or in order to harden themselves before 
hand, were tamed and overpowered, how or why they themselves knew 
not. From the fiercest spirits were heard the most earnest entreaties for 
the forgiveness of their commander ; not before the punishment, for it 
■was too well known that then they would have been to no purpose, but 
days after it, when the bodily pain was remembered but as a dream. 
An invisible power it was that'quelled them, a power, which was there- 
fore irresistible, because it took away the very will of resisting ! It was 
the awful power of law, acting on natures pre-configured to its influences. 
A faculty was appealed to in the offender's own being ; a faculty and a 
presence, of which he had not been previously made aware — but it 
answered to the appeal ! its real existence therefore could not be doubted, 
or its reply rendered inaudible ! and the very struggle of the wilder pas- 
sions to keep uppermost counteracted their own purpose, by wasting in 
internal contest that energy, which before had acted in its entireness on 
external resistance or provocation. Strength may be met with strength ; 
the power of inflicting pain may be baffled by the pride of endurance ; 
the eye of rage may be answered by the stare of defiance, or the downcast 
look of dark and revengeful resolve ; and with all this there is an out- 
ward and determined object to which the mind can attach its passions 
and purposes, and bury its own disquietudes in the full occupation of the 
senses. But who dares struggle with an invisible combatant ? with an 
enemy which exists and makes us know its existence — but where it is, 
we ask in vain. No space contains it ; time promises no control over it ; 
it has no ear for my threats ; it has no substance that my hands can 
grasp, or my weapons find vulnerable ; it commands and cannot be 
commanded ; it acts and is insusceptible of my re-action ; the more I 'jtrive 
to subdue it, the more am I compelled to think of it, and the more 1 
think of it, the more do I find it to possess a reality out of myself, and 
not to be a phantom of my own imagination ; that all, but the most 
abandoned men, acknowledge its authority, and that the whole strength 
and majesty of my country are pledged to support it ; and yet that for 
me its power is the same with that of my own permanent self, and that 
all the choice, which is permitted to me, consists in having it for my 
guardian Angel or my avenging fiend ! This is the spirit of law ! the 
lute of Amphion, the harp of Orpheus ! This is the true necessity, which 
compels man into the social state, now and always, by a still-beginning, 
never-ceasing force of moral cohesion. 

Thus is man to be governed, and thus only can he be governed. J<or 
from his creation the objects of his senses were to become his subjects, 
and the task allotted to him was to subdue the visible world within the 
sphere of action circumscribed by those senses, as far as they could act 
in concert. What the eye beholds the hand strives to reach ; what it 
reaches, it conquers, and makes the instrument of further conquest. 

Section 1. — Essay 2. 107 

We can be subdued by that alone which is analogous in kind to that by 
which we subdue : therefore by the invisible powers of our nature, whose 
immediate presence is disclosed to our inner sense, and only as the sym- 
bols and language of which all shapes and modifications of matter become 
formidable to us. 

A machine continues to move by the force which first set it in motion. 
If only the smallest number in any state, properly so called, hold together 
through the influence of any fear that does not itself presuppose the sense 
of duty, it is evident that the state itself could not have commenced 
through auimal fear. We hear, indeed, of conquests ; but how does 
history represent these ? Almost without exception as the substitution 
of one set of governors for another ; and so far is the conqueror from 
relying on fear alone to secure the obedience of the conquered, that his 
first step is to demand an oath of fealty from them, by which he would 
impose upon them the belief, that they become subjects; for who would 
think of administering an oath to a gang of slaves ? But what can make 
the difference between slave and subject, if not the existence of an implied 
contract in the one case, and not in the other ? And to what purpose 
would a contract serve if, however it might be entered into through fear, 
it were deemed binding only in consequence of fear? To repeat my 
former illustration — where fear alone is relied on, as in a slave ship, the 
chains that bind the poor victims must be material chains ; for these only 
can act upon feelings which have their source wholly in the material 
organization. Hobbes has said, that laws without the sword are but bits 
of parchment. How far this is true every honest man's heart will best 
tell him, if he will content himself with asking his own heart, and not 
falsify the answer by his notions concerning the hearts of other men. 
But were it true, still the fair answer would be — Well ! but without the 
laws the sword is but a piece of iron. The wretched tyrant, who 
disgraces the present age and human nature itself, had exhausted the 
whole magazine of animal terror, in order to consolidate his truly Satanic 
government. But look at the new French catechism, and in it read the 
misgivings of the monster's mind, as to the sufficiency of terror alone ! 
The system, which I have been confuting, is indeed so inconsistent with 
the facts revealed to us by our own mind, and so utterly unsupported by 
any facts of history, that I should be censurable in wasting my own 
time and my reader's patience by the exposure of its falsehood, but that 
the arguments adduced have a value of themselves independent of their 
present application. Else it would have been an ample and satisfactory 
reply to an assertor of this bestial theory — Government is a thing which 
relates to men, and what you say applies only to beasts. 

Before I proceed to the second of the three systems, let me remove a 
possible misunderstanding that may have arisen from the use of the 
word contract : as if I had asserted, that the whole duty of obedience to 

108 The Friend. 

governors is derived from, and dependent on, the fact of an original con- 
tract. 1 freely admit, that to make this the cause and origin of political 
obligation, is not only a dangerous but an absurd theory ; for what could 
give moral force to the contract ? The same sense of duty which binds 
us to keep it, must have pre-existed as impelling us to make it. For 
what man in his senses would regard the faithful observation of a con- 
tract entered into to plunder a neighbour's house, but as a treble crime ? 
First the act, which is a crime of itself; — secondly, the entering into a 
contract which it is a crime to observe, and yet a weakening of one of 
the main pillars of human confidence not to observe, and thus voluntarily 
placing ourselves under the necessity of choosing between two evils ; 
— and thirdly, the crime of choosing the greater of the two evils, by the 
unlawful observance of an unlawful promise. But in my sense, the 
word contract is merely synonymous with the sense of duty acting in a 
specific direction, i. e. determining our moral relations, as members of a 
body politic. If I have referred to a supposed origin of governrQ,ent, it 
has been in courtesy to a common notion : for I myself regard the sup- 
position as no more than a means of simphfying to our apprehension the 
ever-continuing causes of social union, even as the conservation of the 
world may be represented as an act of continued creation. For, what if 
an original contract had really been entered into, and formally recorded? 
Still it could do no more than bind the contracting parties to act for the 
general good in the best manner, that the existing relations among them- 
selves, (state of property, religion, &c.) on the one hand, and the external 
circumstances on the other (ambitious or barbarous neighbours, &c.), 
required or permitted. In after times it could be appealed to only for 
the general principle, and no more than the ideal contract could it affect 
a question of ways and means. As each particular age brings with it its 
own exigencies, so must it rely on its own prudence for the specific mea- 
sures by which they are to be encountered. 

Nevertheless, it assuredly cannot be denied, that an original (in 
reality, rather an ever-originating) contract is a very natural and signifi- 
cant mode of expressing the reciprocal duties of subject and sovereign. 
We need only consider the utility of a real and formal state contract, the 
Bill of Rights for instance, as a sort of est demon stratum in polities'; and 
the contempt lavished on this notion, though sufficiently compatible with 
the tenets of a Hume, will seem strange to us in the writings of a Pro- 
testant clergyman, who surely owed some respect to a mode of thinking 
which God Himself had authorized by His own example, in the esta- 
blishment of the Jewish constitution. In this instance there was no neces- 
sity fir deducing the will of God from the tendency of the laws to the 
general happiness : His will was expressly declared. Nevertheless, it 
seemed good to the Divine wisdom, that there should be a covenant, an 
original contract, between Himself as Sovereign, and the Hebrew nation 

Section 1. — Essay 3. 109 

SS subjects. This, 1 admit, was a written and fonnal contract ; but the 
relations of mankind, as members of a body spiritual, or religious com- 
monwealth, to the Saviour, as its Head or Eegent — is not this too styled 
a covenant, though it would be absurd to ask for the material instrument 
that contained it, or the time when it was signed or voted by the membera 
of the church collectively.* 

With this explanation, the assertion of an original (still better, of a 
perpetual) contract is rescued from all rational objection ; and however 
speciously it may be Orged, that history can scarcely produce a single 
example of a state dating its primary establishment from a free and 
mutual covenant, the answer is ready : if there be any difference between 
a government and a band of robbers, an act of consent must be supposed 
on the part of the people governed. 


Human institutions cannot be wholly constructed on principles of science, which is proper 
to immutable objects. In the government of the visible world the Supreme Wisdom itself 
submits to be the Author of the better : not of the best, but of the best possible in the sub- 
sisting relations. Much more must all human legislators give way to many evils rather than 
encourage the discontent that would lead to worse remedies. If it is not in the power of man 
to construct even the arch of a bridge that shall exactly correspond in its strength to the cal- 
culations of geometry, how much less can human science construct a constitution except by 
rendering itself flexible to experience and expediency : where so many things must fall out 
accidentally, and come not into any compliance with the preconceived ends ; but men are 
forced to comply subsequently, and to strike in with things as they fall out, by after appli- 
cations of them to their purposes, or by framing their purposes to them. South. 

THE second system corresponds to the second point of view under which 
the human being may be considered, namely, as an animal gifted 
with understanding, or the faculty ol suiting measures to circumstances. 
According to this theory, every institution of national origin needs no 
other justification than a proof, that under the particular circumstances 
it is expedient. Having in my former numbers expressed myself (so at 
least I am conscious I shall have appeared to do to many persons) with 
comparative slight of the understanding considered as the sole guide of 
human conduct, and even with something like contempt and reprobation 
of the maxims of expedience, when represented as the only steady light 
of the conscience, and the absolute foundation of all morality; I shall 
perhaps seem guilty of an inconsistency, in declaring myself an adherent 
of this second system, a zealous advocate for deriving the origin of all 
government from human prudence, and of deeming that to be just which 

• It is perhaps to be regretted, that the keep in sight a notion, which appeared to th« 

frords, Cid and New Testament, they having primitive Church the fittest and most scrip- 

lost the sense intended by the translators of tural mode of representing the sum of tb« 

the Bible, have not been changed into the Old contents of the sacred writings. 
•Dd JSew Covenant. We cannot too carefully 


The Friend. 

experience has proved to be expedient. From this charge of ineonsist* 
ency* I shall best exculpate myself by the full statement of the tiiird 
system, and by the exposition of its grounds and consequences. 

The third and last system then denies all rightful origin to govern, 
ment, except as far as they are derivable from principles contained in 
the reason of man, and judges all the relations of men in society by the 
laws of moral necessity, according to ideas (I here use the word in its 
highest and primitive sense, and as nearly synonymous with the modem 
word ideal) according to archetypal ideas co-essential with the reason, 
and the consciousness of which is the sign and necessary product of its 
full development. The following then is the fundamental principle ot 
this theory : nothing is to be deemed rightful in civil society, or to he 
tolerated as such, but what is capable of being demonstrated out of the 
original laws of the pure reason. Of course, as there is but one system 
of geometry, so according to this theory there can be but one constitu- 
tion and one system of legislation, and this consists in the freedom, 
which is the common right of ajl men, under the control of that moral 
necessity, which is the common duty of all men. Whatever is not 

* Distinct notions do not suppose different 
things. When we make a threefold distinc- 
tion In human nature, we are fully aware, 
that it Is a distinction not a division, and 
that in every act of mind the man unites the 
properties of sense, understanding, and 
reason. Nevertheless, It Is of great practical 
importance, that these distinctions should be 
made and understood, the ignorance or per- 
version of them being alilce injurious ; as the 
first French constitution has most lamentably 
proved. It was the fashion in the profligate 
times of Charles II. to laugh at the Presby- 
terians, for distinguishing between the person 
and the King ; while in fact they were ridi- 
culing the most venerable maxims of English 
law; — (the King never dies —the King can do 
no wrong, &c.) and subverting the principles 
of genuine loyalty, in order to prepare the 
minds of the people for despotism. 

Under the term sense, 1 comprise whatever 
is passive in our being, without any reference 
to the questions of materialism or immate- 
rialism ; all that man Is in common with 
animals, in kind at least— Ills sensations, and 
impressions, whether of his outward senses, or 
the inner sense of imagination. This, in the 
language of the schools, was called the vis 
recepHva, or recipient property of the soul, 
from the original constitution of which we 
perceive and imagine all things under the 
forms of space and time. By the understand- 
ing, I mean the faculty of thinking and 
forming judgments on the notices furnished 
by the sense, according to certain rules ex- 
isting in itself, which rules constitute its dis- 
tinct nature. By the pure reason, I mean 
tiie power by wliich we become possessed of 
principles (the eternal^ verities of Plato and 
Pescartes), and of ideas (N.B. not images), as 

the ideas of a point, a line, a circle, in ma- 
thematics ; and of justice, holiness, free-wUl, 
&c., in morals. Hence in works of pure 
science the definitions of necessity precede 
the reasoning; in other works they more 
aptly form the conclusion. 

To many of my readers it will, I trust, be 
some recommendation of these distinctions, 
that they are more than once expressed, and 
everywhere supposed, in the writings of St. 
Paul. I have no hesitation in undertaldng to 
prove, that every heresy which has disquieted 
the Christian Church, from Tritheism to So- 
clnianism, has originated in and supported 
itself by, arguments rendered plausible only 
by the confusion of these faculties, and thus 
demanding for the objects of one, a sort of 
evidence appropriated to those of another 
faculty — These disquisitions have the misfor- 
tune of being in ill-report, as dry and unsatis- 
factory; but 1 hope, in the course of the 
work, to gain them a better character — and if 
elucidations of their practical importance 
from the most momentous events of history^ 
can render them interesting, to give them 
that interest at least. Besides, there is surely 
some good in the knowledge of truth, as. 
truth— (we were not made to live by bread 
alone) and in the strengthening of the intel- 
lect. It is an excellent remark of Scaliger's 
— "Sarum indagatio subtilitatum, etsi non es; 
utilis ad •machinas farinarias conficiendas, 
exuit animum tamen inscitice ruHgine ocMit- 
que ad alia." Scalig. Exerc. 301, ?}. 3, i. e. 
The investigation of these subtleties, though 
it is of no use to the construction of machines 
to grind corn with, yet clears the mind from 
the rust of 'gnorance, and sbarpena it foi 
other things.. 

Section 1. — Essay 3. Ill 

everywhere necessary, is nowhere right. On this assumption the whole 
theory is built. To state it nakedly is to confute it satisfactorily. So 
at least it should seem ! But in how winning and specious a manner 
this system may be represented even to minds of the loftiest order, if 
undisciphned and unhiimbled by practical experience, has been proved by 
the general impassioned admiration and momentous effects of Rousseau's 
Du Contrat Social, and the writings of the French economists, or as they 
more appropriately entitled themselves, phyaiocratic philosophers : and 
in how tempting and dangerous a manner it may be represented to the 
populace, has been made too evident in our own country by the tempo- 
rary effects of Paine's Rights of Man. Relatively, however, to this latter 
work it should be observed, that it is not a legitimate offspring of any 
one theory, but a confusion of the immorality of the first system with 
the misapplied universal principles of the last : and in this union, or 
rather lawless alternation, consists the essence of Jacobinism, as far as 
Jacobinism is anything but a term of abuse, or has auy meaning of its 
own distinct from democracy and sedition. 

A constitution equally suited to China and America, or to Russia and 
Great Britain, must surely be equally unfit for both, and deserve as 
little respect in political, as a quack's panacea in medical practice. Yet 
there are three weighty motives for a distinct exposition of this theory,* 
and of the ground on which its pretensions are bottomed : and I dare 
affirm, that for the same reasons there are few subjects which in the 
present state of the world have a fairer claim to the attention of every 
serious Englishman, who is likely, directly or indirectly, as partisan or 
as opponent, to interest himself in schemes of reform. 

The first motive is derived from the propensity of mankind to mistake 
the feelings of disappointment, disgust, and abhorrence occasioned by the 
unhappy effects or accompaniments of a particular system for an insight 
into the falsehood of its principles which alone can secure its permanent 
rejection. For by a wise ordinance of nature our feelings have no 
abiding-place 'in our memory, nay the more vivid they are in the 
moment of their existence the more dim and difficult to be remembered 
do they make the thoughts which accompanied them. Those of my 
readers who at any time of their life have been in the habit of reading 
novels may easily convince themselves of this truth by comparing their 
recollections of those stories, which most excited their curiosity and 
even painfully affected their feelings, with their recollections of the caha 
and meditative pathos of Shakespeare and Milton. Hence it is that 

* As " Metaphysics " are the science itself possible, even as the eye must e-ddi 

which determines what can and what cannot previous to any particular act of seeing, 

be known of being and the laws of being, a though by sight only can we know that we 

priori (that is, from those necessities of the have eyes) so might the philosophy of fious- 

mind or forms of thinking, which, though seau and his followers not inaptly be tntltled, 

first revealed to us by experience, must yet Metapolitics, and the doctors of this icbto^ 

have pre-existed in order to make experience mctapoliticiana. 

112 The Friend. 

human experience, like the stem lights of a ship at sea, illumines only 
the path which we have passed over. The horror of the Peasants' War 
in Germany, and the direful effects of the Anabaptist tenets, which were 
only nominally different froin those of Jacobinism by the substitution of 
religious for philosophical jargon, struck all Europe for a time with 
affright. Yet little more than a century was sufficient to obliterate all 
effective memory of those events : the same principles budded forth 
anew, and produced the same fruits from the imprisonment of Charles I. 
to the restoration of his son. In the succeeding generations, to the 
follies and vices of the European courts, and to the oppressive privileges 
of the nobility, were again transferred those feelings of disgust and 
hatred, which for a brief while the multitude had attached to the crimes 
and extravagances of political and religious fanaticism : and the same 
principles aided by circumstances and dressed out in the ostentations 
garb of a fashionable philosophy, once more rose triumphant, and 
effected the French revolution. That man has reflected little on human 
nature who does not perceive that the detestable maxims and corre- 
spondent crimes of the existing French despotism, have already dimmed 
the recollections of the democratic frenzy ia the minds of men ; by 
little and little, have drawn off to other objects the electric force of the 
feelings, which had massed and upheld those recoUectiMis; and that a 
favourable concurrence of occasions is alone wanting to awaken the 
thunder and precipitate the lightning from the opposite quarter of the 
political heaven.* The true origin of human events is so little sus- 
ceptible of that kind of evidence which can compel our belief even 
against our will ; and so many are the disturbing forces which modify 
the motion giwn by the first projection ; and every age has, or imagines 
it has, its own circumstances which render past experience no longer 
applicable to the present case ; that there will never be wanting answers 
and explanations, and specious flatteries of hope. I well remember, that 
when the examples of former Jacobins, Julius Cajsar, Cromwell, &e^ 
were adduced in France and England at the commencement of the 
French Consulate, it was ridiculed as pedantry and pedants' ignorance, 
to fear a repetition of such usurpation at the close of the enlightened 
eighteenth century. Those who possess the Moniteurs of that date 
will find set proofs, that such results were little less than impossible, 
and that it was an insult to so philosophical an age, and so enlightened 
a nation, to dare direct the public eye towards them as lights of 
admonition and warning. 

It is a common foible with official statesmen, and with those who 

deem themselves honoured by their acquaintance, to attribute great 

national events to the influence of particular persons, to the errors of 

one man and to the intrigues of another, to any possible spark of a par- 

• The read* will recollect that these essays were first published In 1809. 

Section 1. — Easmj 3. 113 

ticular occasion, rather than to the true cause, the predominant etate of 
public opinion. I have known men who, with most significant nods, 
and the civil contempt of pitying half smiles, have declared the natural 
explanation of the French revolution to be the mere fancies of gar- 
retteers, and then with the solemnity of Cabinet Ministers have pro- 
ceeded to explain the whole by anecdotes. It is so stimulant to the 
pride of a vulgar mind, to be persuaded that it knows what few others 
know, and that it is the important depositary of a sort of state secret, by 
communicating which it confers an obligation on others 1 But I have 
likewise met with men of intelligence, who at the commencement of the 
revolution were travelling on foot through the French provinces, ana 
they bear witness, that in the remotest villages every tongue was em- 
ployed in echoing and enforcing the doctrines of the Parisian journalists, 
that the public highways were crowded with enthusiasts, some shouting 
the watch-words of the revolution, others disputing on the most abstract 
principles of the universal constitution, which they fully believed, that 
all the nations of the earth were shortly to adopt ; the most ignorant 
among them confident of his fitness for the highest duties of a legis- 
lator ; and all prepared to shed their blood in the defence of the in- 
alienable sovereignty of the self-governed people. The more abstract the 
notions were, with the closer affinity did they combine with the most 
fervent feelings and all the immediate impulses to action. The Lord 
Chancellor Bacon lived in an age of court intrigues, and was familiarly 
acquainted with all the secrets of personal influence. He, if any man, 
was qualified to take the gauge and measurement of their comparative 
power, and he has told us, that there is one, and but one infallible source 
of political prophecy, the knowledge of the predominant opinions and 
the speculative principles of men in general, between the age of twenty 
and thirty. Sir Philip Sydney, the favourite of Queen Elizabeth, the 
paramount gentleman of Europe, the nephew, and (as far as a good man 
could be) the confidante of the intriguing and dark-minded Earl of 
Leicester, was so deeply convinced that the principles diffused through 
the majority of a nation are the true oracles from whence statesmen are 
to learn wisdom, and that " when the people speak loudly it is from 
their being strongly possessed either by the Godhead or the demon," 
that in the revolution of the Netheriands he considered the universal 
adoption of one set of principles, as a proof of the divine presence. " If 
her Majesty," says he, " were the fountain, I would fear, considering 
what I daily find, that we should wax dry. But she is but a means 
which God useth." But if my readers wish to see the question of the 
efficacy of principles and popular opinions for evil and for good proved 
and illustrated with au eloquence worthy of the subject, 1 can refer them 
with the hardiest anticipation of their thanks, to the late work con- 
»rning the relatione uf Great Britain, Spain, and Portugal, by my 


The Friend. 

tiououred friend, William Wordsworth* quern quoties lego, non verba 
mihi videor audire, sed tonitriia ! 

'I'hat erroneous political notions (they having become general and a 
part of the popular creed) have practical consequences, and these, of 
course, of a most fearful nature, is a truth as certain as historic evidence 
can make it : and that when the feelings excited by these calamities 
have passed away, and the interest in them has been displaced by more 
recent bvents, the same errors are likely to be started afresh, pregnant 
with the same calamities, is an evil rooted in human nature in the 
present state of general information, for which we have hitherto found 
no adequate remedy. (It may, perhaps in the scheme of Providence, be 
proper and conducive to its ends, that no adequate remedy should , 
exist ; for the folly of men is the wisdom of God.) But if there be any 
means, if not of preventing, yet of palliating the disease and, in the 
more favoured nations, of checking its progress at the first symptoms ; 
and if these means are to be at all compatible with the civil and intel- 
lectual freedom of mankind ; they are to be found only in an intelligible 
and thorough exposure of the error, and, through that fliscovery, of the 

* I consider this reference to, and strong 
recommendation of the work above-men- 
tioned, not as a voluntary tribute of admira- 
tion, but as an act of mere Justice Iwth to 
myself and to the readers of The Friend. My 
own heart bears me witness, that I am ac- 
tuated Dy the deepest sense of the truth of 
the principles, which it has been and still 
more ■will be my endeavour to enforce, and 
3f their paramount importance to the well- 
being of society at the present Juncture ; and 
that the duty of making the attempt, and the 
hope of not wholly failing in it, are, far 
more than the wish for the doubtful good of 
literary reputation, or any yet meaner object, 
my great and ruling motives. Mr. Words- 
worth I deem a fellow-labourer in the same 
vineyard, actuated by the same motives, and 
teaching the same principles, but with far 
greater powers of mind, and an eloquence 
more adequate to the Importance and m^^esty 
of the cause. I am strengthened too by the 
knowledge, that I am not unauthorized by 
the sympathy of many wise and good men, 
and men acknowledged as snch by the public, 
in my admiration of hut pamphlet. — Neque 
enim debet operibus ^us dbesse, quod vivit. 
An si inter eos, qv/)s nunquam mdimm, 
Horuisset, non solum litrros ejw, verumetiam 
iiuagines amquireremus, ejusdem nunc honor 
prcBsentis, et gratia quasi satietate langues- 
et? At hoc pravum, malignumque est, non 
admirari hominera admiratume dignissi- 
mum, quia videre, complecti, nee laudare 
tantum, verum etiam amare contingit.—' 
Plin. Epist. lib. i. 

It to hardly possible for a n>an of ingenuous 
mind to act under the fear that he shall be 
Wspected by honest men of tue vileuess of 

E raising a work to the public, merely because 
e happens to be personally acquainted with 
the author. That this is so commonly done 
in reviews furnishes only an additional 
proof of the morbid hardness produced in 
the moral sense by the habit of writing 
anonymous criticisms, especially under the 
further disguise of a pretended board or asso- 
ciation of critics, each man expressing him- 
self, to use the words of Andrew JSiarvel, as 
a synodical individuum. With regard, how- 
ever, to the probability of the judgment being 
warped by partiality, I can only say that I . 
Judge of all worlss indifferently by certain 
fixed rules previously formed in my mind 
with all the power and vigilance of my judg- 
ment ; and that 1 should certainly of the two 
apply them with greater rigour to the produc- 
tion of a friend than that of a person Indif 
ferent to me. But wherever 1 find in any 
work all the conditions of excellence in its 
kind, it is not the accident of the author's 
being my contemporary or even my friend, or 
the sneers of bad-hearted men, that shall pre- 
vent me from speaking of it, as in my inmost 
convictions I deem it deserves. 

No, friend ! 
Though it be now the fashion to coir.mend, 
As men of su-c:;g minds, those alone who 

Censure with judgment, no such piece of man 
Makes up my spirit ; where desert does live, 
There will 1 plant my wonder, and there 

My best endeavours to build up his glory, 
That truly merits ! 

Jiecommendatory Ve)-ges tc one of ttit 
Old i'kiys. 

Section 1. — Essay 4. 115 

*ource, from wliich it derives its speciousness and powers of influence on 
the human mind. This, therefore, is my first motive for undertaking the 

The second is, that though the French code of revolutionary prin- 
ciples is now generally rejected as a system, yet everywhere in the 
speeches and writings of the English reformers, nay, not seldom in those 
of their opponents, I find certain maxims asserted or appealed to which 
are not tenable, except as constituent parts of that system. Many of 
the most specious arguments in proof of the imperfection and injustice 
of the present constitution of our legislature will be found, on closer 
exauiination, to presuppose the truth of certain principles, from which 
the adducers of these arguments loudly profess their dissent. But in 
political changes no permanence can be hoped for in the edifice, without 
consistency in the foundation. 

The third motive is, that by detecting the true source of the influence 
of these principles, we shall at the same time discover their natural 
place and object ; and that in themselves they are not only truths, but 
most important and sublime truths; and that their falsehood and their 
danger consist altogether in their misapplication. Thus the dignity of 
human nature will be secured, and at the same time a lesson of 
humility taught to each individual, when we are made to see that the 
universal necessary laws, and pure ideas of reason, were given us, not 
for the purpose of flattering our pride and enabling us to become national 
legislators ; but that by an energy of continued self-conquest, we might 
establish a free and yet absolute government in our own spirits. 


Albeit therefore, much of that we are to speak in this present cause may seem to a 
number perhaps tedious, perhaps obscure, dark and intricate, (for many talk of the truth, 
which never sounded the depth from whence it springeth ; and therefore, when they are led 
thereunto they are soon weary, as men drawn from those beaten paths, wherewith they have 
been inured ;) yet this may not so far prevail, as to cut olT that which the matter itself re- 
quireth, howsoever the nice humour of some be therewith pleased or no. They unto whom 
we shall seem tedious are In no wise injured by us, because it is in their own hands to spare 
that labour which they are not willing to endure. And if any complain of obscurity, they 
must consider, that in these matters it cometh no otherwise to pass than in sundry the works 
both of art and also of nature, where that which hath greatest force in the very things we 
see, is, notwithstanding, itself oftentimes not seen. The stateliness of houses, the goodliness 
of trees, when we behold them, deUghteth the eye ; but that foundation which beareth up the 
one, that root which ministereth unto the other nourishment and life, is in the bosom of the 
earth concealed ; and if there be occasion at any time to search into it, such labour is then 
more necessary than pleasant, both to them which undertake it and for the lookers on. In 
like manner, the use and benefit of good laws, all that live under them may enjoy with 
ielight and comfort, albeit the grounds and first original causes from whence they hav» 
sprung be unknown as to the greatest part of men they are. But when they who withdraw 
their obedience, pretend that the laws which they should obey are corrupt and vicious ; for 
better examinatioa of their quality, it behoveth the very foundation and root, the higheiil 

116 The Friend. 

well-spring and fountain of them to be discovered. Whicb because we are not ofttntlmei 
accuBtomed to Jo, when we do it, the pains we talse are more needful a great deal than ac- 
ceptable, and the matters which we handle seem by reason of newness (tttl the mind grow 
better acquainted with them}, dark, intricate, and unfamiliar. For as much help whereof, as 
maybe in this case, I have endeavoured throughout the body of this whole discourse, that 
every former part might give strength to all that follow, and every latter bring some light to 
all before ; so that if the Judgments of men do but hold themselves in suspense, as touching 
these first more general meditations, till In order they have perused the rest that ensue; 
what may seem dark at the first, will afterwards be found more plain, even as the latter 
particular decisions will appear, I doubt not, more strong when the other nave been read 
before. Hooker's Mccksiastical Polity. 


I RETURN to my promise of developing from its embryo principles the 
tree of French liberty, of which the declaratii n of the rights of man, 
and the constitution of 1791 were the leaves, and the succeeding and 
present state of France the fruits. Let me not be blamed, if, in the 
interposed essays, introductory to this section, I have connected this 
system, though only in imagination, though only as a possible case, 
with a name so deservedly reverenced as that of Luther. It is some 
excuse, that to interweave with the reader's recollections a certain li.fe 
and dramatic interest, during the perusal of the abstract reasonings that 
are to follow, is the only means I possess of bribing his attention. We 
have most of us, at some period or other of our lives, been amused with 
dialogues of the dead. Who is there, that wishing to form a probable 
opinion on the grounds of hope and fear for an injured people warring 
against mighty armies, would not be pleased with a spirited fiction" 
which brought before him an old Numantian discoursing on that sub- 
ject in Elysium, with a newly-arrived spirit from the streets of Sara- 
gossa or the walls of G-eiona ? 

But I have a better reason. I wished to give every fair advantage to 
the opinions, which I deemed it of importance to confute. It is°bad 
policy to represent a political system as having no charm but for rob- 
bers and assassins, and no natural origin but in the brains of fools or 
madmen, when experience has proved, that the great danger of the 
system consists in the peculiar fascination it is calculated to exert on 
noble and imaginative spirits ; on all those who in the amiable intoxica- 
tion of youthful benevolence, are apt to mistake their own best virtues 
and choicest powers for the average qualities and attributes of the 
human character. The very min Is, which a good man would most 
wish to preserve or disentangle from the snare, are by these angry mis- 
representations rather lured into it. Is it wonderful that a man should 
reject the arguments unheard, when his own heart proves the falsehood 
of the assumptions by which they are prefaced ? or that he should 

Section 1. — Estay 4. 117 

retaliate on the aggressors their oivn evil thoughts ? I am well aware 
that the provocation was great, the temptation almost inevitable ; yet 
still I cannot repel the conviction from my mind, that in part to this 
error and in part to a certain inconsistency in his fundamental prin- 
ciples, we are to attribute the small number of converts made by Burke 
during his life-time. Let me not be misunderstood. I do not mean, 
that this great man supported different principles at different eras of 
his political life. On the contrary, no man was ever more like him- 
self! From his first published speech on the American colonies to his 
last posthumous tracts, we see the same man, the same doctrines, the 
same uniform wisdom of practical counsels, the same reasoning, and the 
same prejudices against all abstract grounds, against all deduction of 
practice from theory. The inconsistency to which I allude, is of a 
different kind : it is the want of congruity in the principles appealed 
to in different parts of the same work, it is an apparent versatility of 
the principle with the occasion. If his opponents are theorists, then 
everything is to be founded on prudence, on mere calculations of expe- 
diency ; and every man is represented as acting according to the state of 
his own immediate self-interest. Are his opponents calculators ? 
Then calculation itself is represented as a sort of crime. God has given 
us feelings, and we are to obey them ! and the most absurd prejudices 
become venerable, to which these feelings have given consecration. I 
have not forgotten that Burke himself defended these half contradictions, 
on the pretext of balancing the too much on the one side by a too 
much on. the other. But never can I believe, but that the straight line 
must needs be the nearest ; and that where there [is the most, and the 
most unalloyed truth, there will be the greatest and most permanent power 
of persuasion. But the fact was, that Burke in his public character 
found himself, as it were, in a Noah's ark, with a very few men and a 
great many beasts ! He felt how much his immediate power was 
lessened by the very circumstance of his measureless superiority to 
those about him : he acted, therefore, under a perpetual system or 
compromise — a compromise of greatness with meanness ; a compromise 
cf comprehension with narrowness; a compromise of the philosopher 
(who armed with the twofold knowledge of history and the laws ot 
spirit looked, as with a telescope, far around and into the far distance) 
with the mere men of business, or with yet coarser intellects, who 
handled a truth, which they were required to receive, as they would 
handle an ox, which they were desired to purchase. But why need I 
repeat what has been already said in so happy a manner by Goldsmith, 
of thifi great man : — 

118 The Friend. 

VVho, born for the uniyerse, narrowed his mind, 
And to party gave up what was meant for mankind ; 
Though fraught with all learning, yet straining his throa 
To persuade Tommy Townshend to give him a vote; 
Who, too deep for his hearers, still went on refining. 
And thought of convincing, while they thought of dining ! 

And if in consequence it was his fate to " cut blocks with a razor," 1 
may be permitted to add, that, in respect of truth though net of genius, 
the weapon was injured by the misapplication. 

The Friend, however, acts and will continue to act under the belief, 
that the whole truth is the best antidote to falsehoods which are dan- 
gerous chiefly because they are half-truths ; and that an erroneous 
system is best confuted, not by an abuse of theory in general, nor by an 
absurd opposition of theory to practice, but by a detection of the errors 
in the particular theory. For the meanest of men has his theory, and 
to think at all is to theorize. With these convictions I proceed imme- 
diately to the system of the economists and to the principles on which it 
is constructed, and from which it must derive all its strength. 

The system commences with an undeniable truth, and an important 
deduction therefrom equally undeniable. All voluntary actions, say 
they, having for their objects good or evil, are moral actions. But all 
morality is grounded in the reason. Every man is bom with the 
faculty of reason ; and whatever is without it, be the shape what it 
may, is not a man or person, but a thing. Hence the sacred principle, 
recognized by all laws, human and divine, the principle, indeed, which 
is the ground- work of all law and justice, that a person can never be- 
come a thing, nor be treated as such without wrong. But the distinc- 
tion between person and thing consists herein, that the latter may 
rightfully be used, altogether and merely, as a means ; but the former 
must always be included in the end, and form a part of the final cause. 
We plant the tree and we cut it down, we breed the sheep and we kill it, 
wholly as means to our own ends. The wood-cutter and the hind are 
likewise employed as means, but on an agreement of reciprocal advan- 
tage, which includes them as well as their employer in the end. 
Again : as the faculty of reason implies free agency, morality (i. e. the 
dictate of reason) gives to every rational being the right of acting as a 
free agent and of finally determining his conduct by his own will, 
according to his own conscience : and this right is inalienable except by 
guilt, which is an act of self-forleiture, and the consequences therefore 
to be considered as the criminal's own moral election. In respect ot 
their reason* all men are equal. The measure of the understanding, 
and of all other faculties of man, is different in diiferent persons ; but 
reason is not susceptible of degree. For since it merely decides whether 

♦ This position has been already explained, and the sopWstry grounded on it detected aoj 
esi^Jjed, in the fifth essay of the Kirst Landins-Place 

Section 1. — Essay 4. 119 

any given thougbt or action is or is not in contradictioL with the real, 
there can be no reason better, or more reason, than another. 

Reason ! best and holiest gift of Heaven and bond of union with the 
Giver ! The high title by whioh the majesty of man claims precedence 
above all other living creatures! Mysterious faculty, the mother of 
conscience, of language, oi tears, and of smiles ! Calm and incorruptible 
legislator of the soul, without whom all its other powers would " meet 
in mere oppugnancyl" Sole principle of permanence amid endless 
change ! in a world of discordant appetites and imagined self-interests 
the one only common measure ! which taken away, 

Force should be right ; or, rather right and wroDg, 
(Between whose endless jar Justice resides,) 
Should lose their names and so should Justice too. 
Then everything includes itself in power, 
Power into will, will into appetite ; 
And appetite an universal wolf. 
So doubly seconded with will and power, 
Must make perforce an universal prey ! 

Thrice-blessed faculty of reason ! all other gifts, though goodly and of 
celestial origin, health, strength, talents, all the powers and all the means 
of enjoyment, seem dispensed by chance or sullen caprice — thou alone^ 
more than even the sunshine, more than the common air, art given to 
all men, and to every man alike ! To thee, who being one art the same 
in all, we owe the privilege, that of all we can become one, a living 
whole ! that we have a country ! Who then shall dare prescribe a law 
of moral action for any rational being, which does not flow immediately 
from that reason, which is the fountain of all morality ? Or how with- 
out breach of conscience can we limit or coerce the powers of a fi-ee 
agent, except by coincidence with that law in his own mind, which is at 
once the cause, the condition, and the measure of his free agency ? Man 
must be free ; or to what purpose was he made a spirit of reason, and 
not a machine of instinct ? Man must obey ; or wherefore has he a con- 
science ? The powers, which create this difficulty, contain its solution 
likewise; for their service is perfect freedom. And whatever law or 
system of law compels any other service, disennobles our nature, leagues 
itself with the animal against the Godlike, kills in us the very principle 
jf joyous well-doing, and fights against humanity. 

By the application of these principles to the social state there arises 
the following system, which as far as respects its first grounds is 
developed the most fully by J. J. Eousseau in his work Du Contrat 
Social. If, then, no individual possesses the right of prescribing anything 
to another individual, the rule of which is not contained in th^eii common 
reason, society, which is but an aggregate of individuals, can communi- 
cate this right to no one. It cannot possibly make that viohtful which 
the higher and ii^violable law of human nature declivrts coiitradictciji 

120 The Friend. 

»nd unjust. But concerning right and wrong, the reason of each and 
every man is the competent judge ; for how else could he be an 
amenable being, or the proper subject of any law ? This reason, there- 
fore, in any one man, cannot even in the social state be rightfully sub- 
jugated to the reason of any other. Neither an individual, nor yet the 
whole multitude which constitutes the state, can possess the right of 
compelling him to do anything, of which it cannot be demonstrated that 
his own reason must join in prescribing it. If therefore society is to be 
under a rightful constitution of government, and one that can impose on 
rational beings a true and moral obligation to obey it, it must be framed 
on such principles that every individual follows his own reason while he 
obeys the laws of the constitution, and performs the will of the state 
while he follows the dictates of his own reason. This is expressly 
asserted by Rousseau, who states the problem of a perfect constitution 
of government in the following words: Trouver mie forme cf Association, 
par laquelle chacun s' unissant a tous, n'obeisse pourtant qu* d lui-meme, 
et reste aussi libre qu' auparavant ; i. e., to find a form of society 
according to which each one uniting with the whole shall yet obey him- 
self only and remain as free as before. This right of the individual to 
retain his whole natural independence, even in the social state, is abso- 
lutely inalienable. He cannot possibly concede or compromise it : for 
this very right is one of his most sacred duties. He would sin against 
himself and commit high treason against the reason which the Almighty 
Creator has given him, if he dared abandon its exclusive right to govern 
his actions. 

Laws obligatory on the conscience, can only there-fore proceed from 
that reason which remains always one and the same, whether it speaks 
through this or that person ; like the voice of an external ventriloquist, 
it is indifferent from whose lips it appears to come, if only it be audible. 
The individuals indeed are subject to errors and passions, and each man 
has his own defects. But when men are assembled in person or by real 
representatives, the actions and reactions of individual self-love balance 
each other ; errors are neutralized by opposite errors ; and the winds 
rushing from all quarters at once with equal force, produce for the time 
a deep calm, during which the general will arising from the general 
reason displays itself. " It is fittest," says Burke himself, (see his note 
on his motion relative to the Speech from the Throne, vol. ii. p. 647, 
4to. edit.) — " It is fittest that sovereign authority should be exercised 
where it is most likely to be attended with the most efiectual correctives. 
These correctives are furnished by the nature and course of parliamen- 
tary proceedings, and by the infinitely diversified characters who com- 
pose the two Houses. The fulness, the freedom, and publicity of 
discussion, leave it easy to distinguish what are acts of power, and nhat 
the determinations cf equity and reason. There prejudice corrects 

Section 1. — Essay 4. 121 

prejudice, and the different asperities of party zeal mitigate andneutrali^.e 
each other." 

This, however, as my readers will have already detected, is no longer 
a demonstrable deduction from reason. It is a mere probability, against 
which other probabilities may be weighed : as the lust of authority, the 
contagious nature of enthusiasm, and other of the acute or chronic 
diseases of deliberative assemblies. But which of these results is the 
more probable, the correction or the contagion of evil, must depend on 
circumstances and grounds of expediency ; and thus we already find 
ourselves beyond the magic circle of the pure reason, and within the 
sphere of the understanding and of prudence. Of this important fact 
Rousseau was by no means unaware in his theory, though with gross 
inconsistency he takes no notice of it in his application of the tlieory to 
practice. He admits the possibilitj% he is compelled by history to allow 
even the probability, that the most numerous popular assemblies, nay 
even whole nations, may at times be hurried away by the same passions, 
and under the dominion of a common error. This will of all is then of 
no more value than the humours of any one individual ; and must 
therefore be sacredly distinguished from the pure will which flows from 
universal reason. To this point then I entreat the reader's particular 
attention ; for in this distinction, established by Eousseau himself, 
between the Volonte de tous and the Volonte generale, (i. e. between the 
collective will, and a casual over-balance of wills,) the falsehood or 
nothingness of the whole system becomes manifest. For hence it 
follows, as an inevitable consequence, that all which is said in the 
contrat social of that sovereign will, to which the right of universal 
legislation appertains, applies to no one human being, to no society or 
assemblage of human beings, and least of all to the mixed multitude 
that makes up the people ; but entirely and exclusively to reason itself; 
which, it is true, dwells in every man potentially, but actually and in 
perfect purity is found in no man and in no body of men. This distinc- 
tion the later disciples of Eousseau chose completely to forget and (a 
far more melancholy case !) the constituent legislators of France forgot it 
likewise. With a wretched parrotry they wrote and harangued without 
ceasing of the Volonte generale — the inalienable sovereignty of the 
people ; and by these high-sounding phrases led on the vain, ignorant, 
and intoxicated populace to wild excesses and wilder expectations, which 
entailing on them the bitterness of disappointment cleared the way foi 
military despotism, for the Satanic government of horror under the 
Jacobins, and of terror under the Corsicans. 

Luther lived long enough to see the consequences of the doctrines 
into which indignant pity and abstract ideas of right had hurried him — 
to see, to retract, and to oppose them. If the same had been the lot of 
Bouaseau, I doubt not, that his conduct would have been the same, Id 

122 The Friend. 

his whole system there is beyond controversy much that is true and well 
reasoned, if only its application be not extended farther than the nature 
of the case permits. But then we shall find that little or nothing is 
won by it for the institutions of society ; and least of all for the con- 
stitution of governments, the theoiy of which it was his wish tc ground 
on it. Apply his principles to any case, in which the sacred and 
inviolable laws of morality are immediately interested, all becomes just 
and pertinent. No power on earth can oblige me to act against my 
conscience. No magistrate, no monarch, no legislature, can without 
tyranny compel me to do anything which the acknowledged laws of 
God have forbidden me to do. So act that thou mayest be able, with- 
out involving any contradiction, to will that the maxim of thy conduct 
should be the law of all intelligent beings — is the one universal and 
sufficient principle and guide of morality. And why ? Because the 
object of morality is not the outward act, but the internal maxim of our 
actions. And so far it is infallible. But with what show of reason can 
we pretend, from a principle by which we are to determine the purity ot 
our motives, to deduce the form and matter of a rightful government, 
the main ofiSce of which is to regulate the outward actions of particular 
bodies of men, according to their particular circumstances ? Can we 
hope better of constitutions framed by ourselves, than of that which was 
given by Almighty Wisdom itself? The laws of the Hebrew common- 
wealth, which flowed from the pure reason, remain and are immutable ; 
but the regulations dictated by prudence, though by the Divine pru- 
dence, and though given in thunder from the mount, have passed away j 
and while they lasted, were binding only for that one state, the par- 
ticular circumstances of which rendered them expedient. 

Rousseau indeed asserts, that there is an inalienable sovereignty 
inherent in every human being possessed of reason ; and from this the 
framers of the Constitution of 1791 deduce, that the people itself is its 
own sole rightful legislator, and at most dare only recede so far from its 
right as to delegate to chosen deputies the power of representing and 
declaring the general will. But this is wholly without proof ; for it has 
already been fully shown, that according to the principle out of which 
this consequence is attempted to be drawn, it is not the actual man, but 
the abstract reason alone, that is the sovereign and rightful lawgiver. 
The confusion of two things so different is so gross an error, that the 
constituent assembly could scarce proceed a step in their declaration of 
rights without some glaring inconsistency. Children are excluded from 
all political power — are they not human beings in whom the faculty of 
reason resides ? Yes ; but in them the faculty is not yet adequately 
developed. But are not gross ignorance, inveterate superstition, and the 
habitual tyranny of passion and sensuality, equally preventives of the 
development, equally impediments to the rightful exercise of the reason, 

Section l.—Esaay 4. 123 

as childhood and early youth ? Who would not rely on the judgment 
of a well-educated English lad, bred in a virtuous and enlightened 
family, in preference to that of a brutal Russian, who believes that he 
can scourge his wooden idol into good humour, or attributes to himself 
the merit of perpetual prayer, when he has fastened the petitions, whicli 
his priest has written for him, on the wings of a windmill ? Again : 
women are likewise excluded — a full half, and that assuredly the most 
innocent, the most amiable half of the whole human race, is excluded, and 
this too by a constitution which boasts to have no other foundations but 
those of universal reason ! Is reason then an affair of sex ? No ! But 
women are commonly in a state of dependence, and are not likely to 
exercise their reason with freedom. Well ! and does not this ground of 
exclusion apply with equal or greater force to the poor, to the infirm, to 
men in embarrassed circumstances, to all in short whose maintenance, 
be it scanty or be it ample, depends on the will of others ? How far 
are we to go ? Where must we stop ? What classes should we admit ? 
Whom must we disfranchise? The objects, concerning whom we are to 
determine these questions, are all human beings and differenced from 
each other by degrees only, these degrees, too, oftentimes changing. Yet 
the principle on which the whole system rests is, that reason is not 
susceptible of degree. Nothing, therefore, which subsists wholly in 
degrees, the changes of which do not obey any necessary law, can be 
subjects of pure science, or determinable by mere reason. For these 
things we must rely on our understandings, enlightened by past expe- 
rience and immediate observation, and determining our choice by com- 
parisons of expediency. 

It is therefore altogether a mistaken notion, that the theory which 
would, deduce the social rights of man, and the sole rightful form of 
government, from principles of reason, involves a necessary preference 
of the democratic, or even the representative constitutions. Accordingly, 
several of the French economists, although devotees of Eousseau and 
the physiocratic system, and assuredly not the least respectable of their 
party either in morals or in intellect ; and these too men, who lived 
and wrote under the unlimited monarchy of France, and who were there- 
fore well acquainted with the evils connected with that system ; did yet 
declare themselves for a pure monarchy in preference to the aristocratic, 
the popular, or the mixed form. These men argued, that no other laws 
being allowable but those which are demonstrably just, and founded in 
the simplest ideas of reason, and of which every man's reason is the 
competent judge, it is indifferent whether one man, or one or more 
assemblies of men, give form and publicity to them. For being matters 
of pure and simple science, they require no experience in order to see 
their truth, and among an enlightened people, by whom this system 
fi.'jd been once solemnly adopted, no sovereign would dare lo make othel 

124 The Friend. 

laws than those of reason. They further contend that if the people were 
not enlightened, a purely popular government could not coexist with 
this system of absolute justice ; and if it were adequately enlightened, 
the influence of public opinion would supply the place of formal repre- 
sentation, while the form of the government would be in harmony with 
the unity and simplicity of its principles. This they entitle le Despo- 
tisms legal sous VEmpire de VEvidence. (The best statement of the 
theory thus modified may be found in Mercier de la Rivikre, fordre 
naturel et essentiel des societes politiques.) From the proofs adduced in 
the preceding paragraph, to which many others might be added, I have 
no hesitation in affirming that this latter party are the more consistent 

It is worthy of remark, that the influence of these writings contri- 
buted greatly, not indeed to raise the present emperor, but certainly to 
reconcile a numerous class of politicians to his unlimited authority ; and 
as far as his lawless passion for war and conquests allows him to govern 
according to any principles, he favours those of the physiocratic philo- 
sophers. His early education must have given him a predilection for a 
theory conducted throughout with mathematical precision; its very 
simplicity promised the readiest and most commodious machine for 
despotism, for it moulds a nation into as calculable a power as an army ; 
while the stern and seeming greatness of the whole, and its mock eleva- 
tion above human feelings, flattered his pride, hardened his conscience, 
and aided the efforts of self-delusion. Reason is the sole sovereign, the 
only rightful legislator ; but reason to act on man must be imperson- 
ated. The Providence which had so marvellously raised and supported 
him, had marked him out for the representative of reason, and had 
armed him with irresistible force, in order to realize its laws. In him 
therefore might becomes right, and his cause and that of destiny (or as 
the wretch now chooses to word it, exchanging blind nonsense for staring 
blasphemy), his cause and the cause of God, are one and the same. Ex- 
cellent postulate for a choleric and self-willed tyrant ! What avails the 
impoverishment of a few thousand merchants and manufacturers ? What 
even the general wretchedness of millions of perishable men, for a short 
generation ? Should these stand in the way of the chosen conqueror, 
tlie " Innovator mundi, et stupor sceculorum," or prevent a constitution 
of things, which, erected on intellectual and perfect foundations, groweth 
not old, but like the eternal justice, of which it is the living image, — 

may despise 
The strokes of Fate and see the world's last hour ! 

For Justice, austere unrelenting Justice, is everywhere held up as the 
one thing needful ; and the only duty of the citizen, in fulfilling which 
he obeys all the laws, is not to encroach on another's sphere of action. 
Tlie greatest possible happiness of a people is not, according to this 

Section 1. — Essay 4. 125 

STBtem, the object of a governor ; but to preserve the freedom of all, by 
coercing within the requisite bounds the freedom of each. Whatever a 
government does more than this comes of evil, and its best employ- 
ment is the repeal of laws and regulations, not the establishment of 
them. Each man is the bevSt judge of his own happiness, and to himself 
must it therefore be entrusted. Remove all the interferences of positive 
statutes, all monopoly, all bounties, all prohibitions, and all encourage- 
ments of importation and exportation, of particular growth and parti- 
cular manufactures ; let the revenues of the state be taken at once from 
the produce of the soil ; and all things will then find their level, all 
irregularities will correct each other, and an indestructible cycle of 
harmonious motions take place in the moral equally as in the natural 
world. The business of the governor is to watch incessantly, that the 
state shall remain composed of individuals, acting as individuals, by 
which alone the freedom of all can be secured. Its duty is to take care 
that itself remain the sole collective power, and that all the citizens 
should enjoy the same rights, and without distinction be subject to the 
same duties. 

Splendid promises ! Can anything appear more equitable than the 
last proposition, the equality of rights and duties ? Can anything be 
conceived more simple in the idea ? But the execution — ? let the four 
or five quarto volumes of the Conscript Code be the comment ! But as 
briefly as possible I shall prove, that this system, as an exclusive total, 
is under any form impracticable ; and that if it were realized, and as 
far as it were realized, it would necessarily lead to general barbarism 
and the most grinding oppression ; and that the final result of a general 
attempt to introduce it, must be a military despotism inconsistent with 
the peace and safety of mankind. That reason should be our guide and 
governor is an undeniable truth, and all our notion of right and wrong 
is built thereon; for the whole moral nature of man originated and 
subsists in his reason. From reason alone can we derive the principles 
which our understandings are to apply, the ideal to which by means of 
our understandings we should endeavour to approximate. This, how- 
ever, trives no proof that reason alone ought to govern and direct human 
beings, either as individuals or as states. It ought not to do this, be- 
cause it cannot. The laws of reason are unable to satisfy the first 
conditions of human society. We will admit that the shortest code of 
law is the best, and that the citizen finds himself most at ease where 
the government least intermeddles with his affairs, and confines its 
efforts to the preservation of public tranquillity— we will suffer this to 
pass at present undisputed, though the examples of England, and before 
the late events, of Holland and Switzerland, (surely the three happiest 
nations of the world,) to which perhaps we might add the major part of 
Uie former German free towns, furnish stubborn facts in presumption of 

J 26 The Friend. 

the contrary ; yet still tlio proof is wanting that the first and most 
general applications and exertions of the power of man can be definitely 
regulated by reason unaided by the positive and conventional laws in 
the formation of which the understanding must be our guide, and which 
become just because they happen to be expedient. 

The chief object for which men first formed themselves into a state 
was not the protection of their lives but of their property. Where the 
nature of the soil and climate precludes all property but personal, and 
permits that only in its simplest forms, as in G-reenland, men remain in 
the domestic state and form neighbourhoods, but not governments. 
And in North America, the chiefs appear to exercise government in 
those tribes only which possess individual landed property. Among 
the rest the chief is their general ; but government is exercised only in 
families by the fathers of families. But where individual landed 
property exists, there must be inequality of property ; the nature of 
the earth and the nature of the mind unite to mate the contrary im-r 
possible. But to suppose the land the property of the state, and the 
labour and the produce to be equally divided among all the members of 
the state, involves more than one contradiction ; for it could not subsist 
without gross injustice, except where the reason of all and of each was 
absolute master of the selfish passions of sloth, envy, &c. : and yet the 
same state would preclude the greater part of the means by which the 
reason of man is developed. In whatever state of society you would 
place it, from the most savage to the most refined, it would be found 
equally unjust and impossible ; and were there a race of men, a country, 
and a climate, that permitted such an order of things, the same causes 
would render all government superfluous. To property, therefore, and 
to its inequalities, all human laws directly or indirectly relate, which 
would not be equally laws in the state of nature. Now it is impossible 
to deduce the right of property* from pure reason. The utmost which 
reason could give would be a property in the forms of things, as far as 
the forms were produced by individual power. In the matter it could 
give no property. We regard angels and glorified spirits as beings of 
pure reason ; and whoever thought of property in heaven ? Even the 
simplest and most moral form of it, namely marriage (we know from 
the highest authority), is excluded from the state of pure reason. Eous- 
seau himself expressly admits that property cannot be deduced from 
the laws of reason and nature ; and he ought therefore to have admitted 
ac the same time, that his whole theory was a thing of air. In the 
most respectable point of view he could regard his system as analogous 
to geometry. (If indeed it be purely scientific, how could it be other- 
wise?) Geometry holds forth an ideal which can never be fully 

• I mean, practically and with the in- to property is deducible from the free-agency 
equalities inseparable from the actual exist- of man. Jf to act freely be a righl, a Bpher* 
ence of property Abstractedly, the right of action must be bo too. 

Section 1. — Essay A. 127 

realized in nature, even because it is nature : because bodies are more 
than extension, and to pure extension of space only the mathematical 
theorems wholly correspond. In the same manner the moral laws of 
the intellectual world, as far as they are deducible from pure intellect, 
are never perfectly applicable to our mixed and sensitive nature, be- 
cause man is something besides reason ; because his reason never acts 
by itself, but must clothe itself in the substance of individual under- 
standing and specific inclination, i*a order to become a reality and an 
object of consciousness and experience. It will be seen hereafter that 
together with this, the key-stone of the arch, the greater part and the 
most specious of the popular arguments in favour of universal suffrage 
fall in and are crushed, I will mention one only at present. Major 
Cartwright, In his deduction of the rights of the subject from principles 
*' not susceptible of proof, being self-evident — if one of which be vio- 
lated all are shaken," affirms (Principle 98th ; though the greater part 
indeed are moral aphorisms, or blank assertions, not scientific principles)^ 
" that a power which ought never to be used ought never to exist." 
Again he affirms that " Laws to bind all must be assented to by all, 
and consequently every man, even the poorest, has an equal right to 
suffrage :" and this for an additional reason, because " all without ex- 
ception are capable of feeling happiness or misery, accordingly as they 
are well or ill governed." But are they not then capable of feeling 
happiness or misery accordingly as they do or do not possess the means 
of a comfortable subsistence ? and who is the judge, what is a comfortable 
subsistence, but the man himself? Might not then, on the same or 
equivalent principles, a leveller construct a right to equal property ? 
The inhabitants of this country without property form, doubtless, a 
great majority ; each of these has a right to a suffrage, and the richest 
man to no more : and the object of this suffrage is, that each individual 
may secure himself a true efficient representative of his will. Here 
then is a legal power of abolishing or equalizing property ; and ac- 
cording to the Major himself, a power which ought never to be used 
wight not to exist. 

Therefore, unless he carries his system to the whole length of common 
labour and common possession, a right to universal suffrage cannot 
exist ; but if not to universal suffrage, there can exist no natural right 
to suffrage at all. In whatever way he would obviate this objection, he 
must admit expedience founded on experience and particular circum- 
stances, which will vary in every different nation, and in the same nation 
at different times, as the maxim of all legislation and the ground of all 
leoislative power. For his universal principles, as far as they are prin- 
ciples and universal, necessarily suppose uniform and perfect subjects, 
which are to be found in the ideas oi pure geometry and (I trust) in the 
realities of Ileaveo, but never, never, in cvtatures of flesh and blood. 

128 The Friend. 



And it was no wonder If some good and Innocent men, especially such as he (LightfortV 
who' was generally more concerned about what was done in Judea many centuries ago, than 
what was transacted In his own time in his own country — it is no wonder if some such were 
for a while borne away to the approval of opinions which they after more sedate reflection 
disowned. Yet his innocency from any self-interest or design, together with his learning, 
secured him from the extravagancies of demagogues, the people's oracles. 

Lightfoot's works, Publisher's preface to the reader. 

I HAVE never seen Major Cartwright, much less enjoy the honour of his 
acquaintance ; but I know enough of his character from the testimony 
of others and from his own writings, to respect his talents, and revere 
the purity of his motives. I am fully persuaded, that there are few 
better men, few more fervent or disinterested adherents of their country 
or the laws of their country, of whatsoever things are lovely, of whatso- 
ever things are honourable. It would give me great pain should 1 be 
supposed to have introduced, disrespectfully, a name which '^om my 
early youth I never heard mentioned without a feeling of affectionate 
admiration. I have indeed quoted from this venerable patriot, as from 
the most respectable English advocate for the theory, which derives the 
rights of government, and the duties of obedience to it, exclusively from 
principles of pure reason. It was of consequence to my cause that I 
should not be thought to have been waging war against a straw image of 
my own setting up, or even against a foreign idol that had neither wor- 
shippers nor advocates in our own country ; and it was not less my 
object to keep my discussion aloof from those passions, which more un- 
popular names might have excited. I therefore introduced the name cf 
Cartwright, as I had previously done that of Luther, in order to give 
every fair advantage to a theory, which I thought it of importance to 
confute; and as an instance that though the system might be made 
tempting to the vulgar, yet that, taken unmixed and entire, it was 
chiefly fascinating for lofty and imaginative spirits, who mistook their 
own virtues and powers for the average character of men in general. 

Neither by fair statements nor by fair reasoning should I ever o-ive 
offence to Major Cartwright himself, nor to his judicious friends. If I 
am in danger of offendiug them, it must arise from one or other of two- 
causes ; either that I have falsely represented his principles, or his 
motives and the tendency of his writings. In the book from which I 
quoted (" The People's Barrier against undue influence, &c." the only one 
of Major Cartwright's which I possess) I am conscious that there are six 
foundations stated of constitutional government. Therefore it may be 
urged, the author cannot be justly classed with those who deduce our 
iwcial rights and correlative duties exclusively from principles of pure 

Section 1. — Essay 5- 129 

reason, or unavroidable conclusions from such. My answer is ready. Ot 
these six foundations three are but different words for one and the same, 
viz., the law of reason, the law of Grod, and first principles : and the 
three that remain cannot be taken as different, inasmuch as they are 
afterwards affirmed to be of no validity except as far as they are evidently 
deduced from the former ; that is, from the principles implanted by God 
in the universal reason of man. These three latter foundations are, the 
general customs of the realm, particular customs, and acts of Parliament. 
It might be supposed that the author had not used bis terras in the pre- 
cise and single sense in which they are defined in my former essay ; and 
that self-evident principles may be meant to include the dictates of 
manifest expedience, the inductions of the understanding as well as the 
prescripts of the pure reason. But no ! Major Cartwright has guarded 
against the possibility of this interpretation, and has expressed himself 
as decisively, and with as much warmth, against founding governments 
on grounds of expedience, as the Editor of The Friend has done against 
founding morality on the same. Euclid himself could not have defined 
his words more sternly within the limits of pure science : for instance, 
see the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th primary rules. " A principle is a manifest 
and simple proposition comprehending a certain truth. Principles are 
the proof of everything : but are not susceptible of external proof, being 
self-evident. If one principle be violated, all are shaken. Against him 
who denies principles all dispute is useless, and reason unintelligible, 
or disallowed, as far as he denies them. The laws of nature are immu- 
ta,ble." Neither could Rousseau himself (or his predecessors, the Fifth- 
monarchy men) have more nakedly or emphatically identified the foun- 
dations of government in the concrete with those of religion and morality 
in the abstract : see Major Cartwright's primary rules from 31 to 39, 
and from 44 to 83. In these it is affirmed, that the legislative rights 
of every citizen are inherent in his nature ; that being natural rights they 
must be equal in all men ; that a natural right is that right which a 
citizen claims as being a man, and that it hath no other foundation but 
his personality or reason ; that property can neither increase nor modify 
any legislative right ; that every one man shall have one vote however 
poor, and for any one man, however rich, to have any more than one 
TOte, is against natural justice, and an evil measure ; that it is better for 
a nation to endure all adversities, than to assent to one evil measure ; 
that to be free is to be governed by laws, to which we have ourselves 
assented, either in person or by representatives, for whose election we 
have actually voted ; that all not having a right of suffrage are slaves, 
and that a vast majority of the people of Great Britain are slaves ! To 
prove the total coincidence of Major Cartwright's theory with that which 
I have stated (and I trust confuted) in the preceding number, it only 
lemains for me to prove, that the former, equally with the latter, con- 


130 The Friend. 

founds the sufficiency of the conscience to make every person a moral 
and amenable being, with the su^ciency of judgment and experience 
requisite to the exercise of pohtical right. A single quotation will place 
this out of all doubt, which from its length I shall insert iu a note,* 

Great stress, indeed, is laid on the authority of our ancient laws, both 
iu this and the other works of our patriotic author ; and whatever his 
system may be, it is impossible not to feel, that the author himself pos- 
sesses the heart of a genuine Englishman. But still his system can 
neither be changed nor modified by these appeals; for among the 
primary maxims, which form the ground-work of it, we are informed 
not only that law in the abstract is the perfection of reason, but that the 
law of God and the law of the land are all one ! What ? The statutes 
against witches ? Or those bloody statutes against Papists, the aboUtion 
of which gave rise to the infamous riots in 1780 ? Or (in the author's 
own opinion) the statutes of disfranchisement and for making parliaments 
septennial ? — Nay ! but (Principle 28) " an unjust law is no law ;" and 
(P. 22) against the law of reason neither prescription, statute, nor 
custom, may prevail ; and if any such be brought against it, they be not 
prescriptions, statutes, nor customs, but things void ; and (P. 29) 
" What the parliament doth shall be holden for nought, whensoever it 
shall enact that which is contrary to a natural right !" We dare not 
suspect a grave writer of such egregious trifling, as to mean no more by 
these assertions than that what is wrong is not right ; and if more than 
this be meant, it must be that the subject is not bound to obey any act 
of parliament, which according to his conviction entrenches on a principle 

* " But the equality (observe, that Major consisting of ' tradesmen, artificers, and 

Cartwright is here speaking of the natural labourere,' or any of them from voting in 

light to universal suffrage, and consequently elections of members to serve in parliament, 

of the universal right of eligibility, as well as I must sincerely lament such a persuasion aa 

of election, independent of character or pro- a misfortune both to himself and his country, 

perty)— the equahty and dignity of human And if any man (not having given himself 

nature In all men, whether rich or poor, is the trouble to consider whether or not the 

placed in the highest point of view by St. Scripture be an authority, but who, never- 

Paul, when he reprehends the Corinthian theless, is a friend to the rights of mankind), 

believers for their litigations one with another, upon grounds of mere prudence, policy, or 

In the courts of law where unbelievers pre- expediency, shall think it advisable to go 

sided; and as an argimient of the competency against the whole current of our constltu* 

of all men to judge for themselves, he alludes tional and law maxims, by which it is self. 

to that elevation in the kingdom of heaven evident that every man, as being a man, 

which Is promised to every man who shall created free, born to freedom, and without i^ 

be virtuous, or in the language of that time, a thing, a slave, a beast ; and shall contend 

a saint. ' Do ye not know,' says he, ' that the for drawing a line of exclusion at freeholders 

«aint3 shall Judge the world ? And if the of forty pounds a year, or forty shillings a 

world shall be Judged by you, are ye un- year, or householders, or pot-boilers, so that 

worthy to judge the smallest matters? Know all who are below that line shall not have a 

ye not that ye shall judge the angels ? How vote in the election of a legislative guardian, 

much more things that pertain to this life t' — which is taking from a citizen the power 

Zf after such authorities, such manifestations even of self-preservation, — such a man, 1 

of truth as these, any Christian through those venture to say, is bolder than he who wrestled 

prejudices, which are the effects of long with the angel ; for he wrestles with God 

nabits of injustice and oppression, and teach Himself, who established those principles in 

us to 'despise the poor,' shall still think it the eternal laws of nature, never to be violated 

right to exclude that part of the commonalty, by any of His creatures."~Pp. 23, 24 

Section 1. — Essay 5. 131 

of natural right ; which natural rights are, as we have seen, not confined 
to the man in his individual capacity, hut are made to confer universal 
legislative privileges on every subject of every state, and of the extent oi 
which every man is competent to judge, who is competent to be the 
object of law at all, i. e. every man who has not lost his reason. 

In the statement of his principles ,therefore, I have not misrepresented 
Major Cartwright. Have I then endeavoured to connect public odiuta 
with his honoured name, by arraigning his motives, or the tendency of 
his writings ? The tendency of his writings, in my inmost conscience I 
believe to be perfectly harmless, and I dare cite them in confirmation of 
the opinions which it was the object of my introductory essays to 
estabUsh, and as an additional proof, that no good man communicating 
what he believes to be truth for the sake of truth, and according to the 
rules of conscience, will be found to have acted injuriously to the peace 
or interests of society. The venerable state-moralist (for this is his true 
character, and in this title is conveyed the whole error of his system) is 
incapable of aiding his arguments by the poignant condiment of personal 
slander, incapable of appealing to the envy of the multitude by bitter 
declamation against the follies and oppressions of the higher classes ! He 
would shrink with horror from the thought of adding a false and un- 
natural influence to the cause of truth and justice, by details of present 
calamity or immediate suffering, fitted to excite the fury of the multitude, 
or by promises of turning the current of the public revenue into the 
channels * of individual distress and poverty, so as to bribe the populace 
by selfish hopes ! It does not belong to men of his character to delude 
the uninstructed into the belief that their shortest way of obtaining the 
good things of this life is to commence busy poUticians, instead of 
remaining industrious labourers. He knows, and acts on the knowledge, 
that it is the duty of the enlightened philanthropist to plead /or the poor 
and ignorant, not to them. 

No ! — From works written and published under the control of austere 
principles, and at the impulse of a lofty and generous enthusiasm, from 
works rendered attractive only by the fervoUr of sincerity, and imposing 
only by the majesty of plain dealing, no danger will be apprehended by 
a wise man, no offence received by a good man. I could almost venture 
to warrant our patriot's publications innoxious, from the single circum- 
stance of their perfect freedom from personal themes in this age of 
personality, this age of literary and political gossiping, when the meanesi' 
insects are worshipped with a sort of Egyptian superstition, if only the 

* I mnst again remind the reader, tliat these the author's. If what I tncn believed and 

tBsays were written October 1809. If Major avowed should now appear a severe satire 

Cartwright, however, has since then acted in the shape of a false prophecy, any shamo 

in a different spirit, and tampered prsonaily I might feel for my lack of penetratiou 

with the distresses, and consequent irritability would be lost in the sincerity of my regret, 
of the ignorant, the Inconsistency is his, not 

132 The Friend. 

brainless head be atoned for by the sting of personal malignity in the 
tail ; when the most vapid satires have become the cbjects of a keen 
public interest purely from the number of contemporary characters 
named in the patch-work notes (which possess, however, the comparative 
merit of being more poetical than the test), and because, to increase the 
stimulus, the author has sagaciously left his own name for whispers and 
conjectures ! In an age, when even sermons are published with a double 
appendix stuffed with names — in a generation so transformed from the 
characteristic reserve of Britons, that from the ephemeral sheet of a 
London newspaper to the everlasting Scotch professional quarto, almost 
every publication exhibits or flatters the epidemic distemper ; that the 
very " Last year's rebuses " in the Lady's Diary are answered in a 
serious elegy " On my father's death," with the name and habitat of the 
elegiac CEdipus subscribed ; — and " other ingenious solutions were like- 
wise given " to the said rebuses — not, as heretofore, by Crito, Philander, 
A B, X Y, &c. but by fifty or sixty plain English surnames, at full length, 
with their several places of abode ! In an age, when a bashful Philalethes 
or Phileleutheros is as rare on the title-pages and among the signatures of 
our magazines, as a real name used to be in the days of our shy and 
notice-shunning grandfathers ! When (more exquisite than all) I see an 
epic poem (spirits of Maro and Mieonides, make ready to welcome your 
new compeer !) advertised with the special recommendation, that the said 
epic poem contains more than a hundred names of living persons ! No 
— if works as abhorrent as those of Major Cartwright, from all un- 
worthy provocatives to the vanity, the envy, and the selfish passions of 
mankind, could acquire a sufficient influence on the public mind to be 
mischievous, the plans proposed in his pamphlets would cease to be alto- 
gether visionary ; though even then they could not ground their claims 
to actual adoption on self-evident principles of pure reason, but on the 
happy accident of the virtue and good sense of that public, for whose 
suffrages they were presented. (Indeed with Major Cartwright's plans 
I have no present concern ; but with the principles, on which he grounds 
the obligations to adopt them.) 

But I must not sacrifice truth to my reverence for individual purity 
of intention. The tendency of one good man's writings is altogether a 
different thing from the tendency of the system itself, when seasoned 
and served up for the unreasoning multitude, as it has been by men 
whose names I would not honour by writing them in the same sentence 
with Major Cartwright's. For this system has two sides, and holds out 
very different attractions to its admirers who advance towards it from 
different points of the compass. It possesses qualities, that can scarcely 
fail of winning over to its banners a numerous host of shallow heads and 
restless tempers, men who without learning (or, as one of my friends has 
forcibly expressed it, "strong book-mindedness ") live as alms-folks on 

Section 1. — Essay 5. 133 

iSie opinions of their contemporaries, and who (well pleased to ex- 
change the humility of regret for the self-complacent feelings of con- 
tempt) reconcile themselves to the sans cvlotterie of their ignorance, by 
BCoflSng at the useless fox-brush of pedantry.* The attachment of this 
numerous class is owing neither to the solidity and depth of foundation 
in this theory, or to the strict coherence of its arguments ; and still less 
to any genuine reverence for humanity in the abstract. The physiocratic 
system promises to deduce all thtugs, and everything relative to law 
and government, with mathematical exactness and certainty, from a few 
individual and self-evident principles. But who so dull, as not to be 
capable of apprehending a simple self-evident principle, and of following 
a short demonstration ? By this system — " the system," as its admirers 
weie wont to call it, even as they named the writer who first apphed it 
in systematic detail to the whole constitution and administration of civil 
policy, Du Quesnoy to wit, le Docteur, or the teacher ; — by this system 
the observation of times, places, relative bearings, history, national 
customs and character, is rendered superfluous : all, in short, which 
according to the common notion makes the attainment of legislative 
prudence a work of difficulty and long-continued effort, even for the 
acutest and most comprehensive minds. The cautious balancing of 
comparative advantages, the painful calculation of forces and counter- 
forces, the preparation of circumstances, the lynx-eyed watching for 
opportunities, are all superseded ; and by the magic oracles of certain 
axioms and definitions it is revealed how the world with all its concerns 
should be mechanized, and then let go on of itself. All the positive 
institutions and regulations, which the prudence of our ancestors had 
provided, are declared to be erroneous or interested perversions of the 
natural relations of man ; and the whole is dehvered over to the faculty 
which all men possess equally, i. e. the common sense or universal 
reason. The science of politics, it is said, is but the apphcation of the 
conunon sense which every man possesses to a subject in which every 
man is concerned. To be a musician, an orator, a painter, a poet, an 
architect, or even to be a good mechanist, presupposes genius ; to be an 
excellent artizan or mechanic, requires more than an average degree of 
talent ; but to be a legislator requires nothing but common sense. The 
commonest hiunan intellect therefore suffices for a perfecfinsight into 
the whole science of civil polity, and qualifies the possessor to sit in judg- 
ment on the constitution and administration of his own country, and of 

* " He (CfharUsSrwndon, Duke of Suffolk) teach others; these he said were like gods 

knowing that learning hath no enemy but among men — others who though they knew 

ignorance, did suspect always the want of it not much yet were willing to learn ; these he 

in those men who derided the habit of it in said were like men among beasts — and some 

others ; like the fox in the fable, who being who knew not good and yet despised such 

without a tail, would persuade others to cut as should teach them; these he esteemed as 

off theirs as a burden. But he liked well the beasts among men." — Lloyd's State VForSWe*, 

philosopher's division of men into three ranks p. 33. 
•-some who knew good and were willing to 

134 The Friend. 

all other nations. This must needs be agreeable tidings to the greal 
mass of mankind. There is no subject, which men in general like better 
to harangue on than politics : none, the deciding on which more flatters 
the sense of self-importance. For as to what Doctor Johnson calls 
plebeian envy, I do not believe that the mass of men are justly charge- 
able with it in their political feelings ; not only because envy is seldom 
excited except by definite and individual objects, but still more because 
it is a painful passion, and not likely to coexist with the high delight 
and self-complacency with which the harangues on states and statesmen, 
princes, and generals, are made and listened to in ale-house circles pr 
promiscuous pubUc meetings. A certain portion of this is not merely 
desirable, but necessary in a free country. Heaven forbid that the 
most ignorant of my countrymen should be deprived of a subject so well 
fitted to 

An hour's importance to the poor man's heart ! 

But a system which not only flatters the pride and vanity of men, but 
which in so plausible and intelligible a manner persuades them, not that 
this is wrong, and that that ought to have been managed otherwise ; or 
that Mr. X. is worth a hundred of Mr. T. as a minister or parliament 
man, &c. &c. ; but that all is wrong and mistaken, nay almost unjust 
and wicked, and that every man is competent, and in contempt of all 
rank and property, on the mere title of his personality, possesses the right, 
and is under the most solemn moral obligation, to give a helping hand 
toward overthrowing it : this confusion of political with rehgious claims, 
this transfer of the rights of rehgion disjoined from the austere duties of 
self-denial, with which religious rights exercised in their proper sphere 
cannot fail to be accompanied ; and not only disjoined from self-restraint, 
but united with the indulgence of those passions (self-wiU, love of 
power, &c.,) which it is the principal aim and hardest task of religion to 
correct and restrain — this, I say, is altogether different from the village 
politics of yore, and may be pronounced alarming and of dangerous 
tendency by the boldest advocates of reform, not less consistently than 
by the most timid eschewers of popular disturbance. 

Still, however, the system had its golden side for the noblest minds ; 
and I should act the part of a coward if I disguised my convictions, 
that the errors of the aristocratic party were full as gross and far less 
excusable. Instead of contenting themselves with opposing the real 
blessings of English law to the splendid promises of untried theory, too 
large a part of those who call themselves Anti-jacobins did all in their 
power to suspend those blessings ; and thus furnished new arguments 
to the advocates of innovation, when they should have been answering 
the old ones. The most prudent as well as the most honest mode ol 
defending the existing aiTangements would have been, to have can- 

Section 1. — Essay 5. 135 

diily admitted what could not with truth be denied, and then to have 
shown that, though the things complained of were evils, they were ne- 
cessary evils ; or if they were removeable, yet that the congequences of 
the heroic medicines recommended by the revolutionists would be far 
more dreadful than the disease. Now either the one or the other point, 
by the double aid of history and a sound philosophy, they might have 
established with a certainty little short of demonstration, and with such 
colours and illustrations as would have taken strong hold of the very 
feelings which had attached to the democratic system all the good and 
valuable men of the party. But instead of this they precluded the 
possibility of being listened to even by the gentlest and most ingenuous 
among the friends of the French revolution, denying or attempting to 
palliate facts that were equally notorious and unjustifiable, and sup- 
pljong the lack of braia by an overflow of gall. While they lamented 
with tragic outcries the injured monarch and the exiled noble, they 
displayed the most disgusting insensibility to the privations, sufferings, 
and manifold oppressions of the great mass of the continental popula- 
tion, and a blindness or callousness still more offensive to the crimes 
and unutterable abominations of their oppressors.* Not only was the 
Bastile justified, but the Spanish inquisition itself — and this in a 
pamphlet passionately extolled and industriously circulated by the ad- 
herents of the then ministry. Thus, and by their infatuated panegyrics 
on the former state of France, they played into the hands of their worst 
and most dangerous antagonists. In confounding the conditions of the 
English and the French peasantry, and in quoting the authorities of 
Milton, Sidney, and their immortal compeers, as applicable to the 
present times and the existing government, the demagogues appeared to 
talk only the same language as the Anti-jacobuis themselves employed. 
For if the vilest calunmies of obsolete bigots were applied against these 
great men by the one party, with equal plausibility might their au- 
thorities be adduced, and their arguments for increasing the power of 
the people be re-applied to the existing government, by the other. If 
the most disgusting forms of despotism were spoken of by the one in 
the same respectful language as the executive power of our own countiy, 
what wonder if the irritated partizans of the other were able to impose 
on the populace the converse of the proposition, and to confound the 
executive branch of the English sovereignty with the despotisms of less 
happy lands ? The first duty of a wise advocate is to convince his 
opponents, that he understands their arguments and sympathizes with 
their just feelings. But instead of this, these pretended constitution- 
alists recurred to the language of insult, and to measures of persecution. 

■ I do not mean the sovereigns, but the hierarchy, has always appeared to me the 

old nobility of both Germany and France, greatest defect of his, in so icany respecta 

The extravagantly false and flattering pictare, in valuable work. 
which Burke gave of the French nobility and 


136 The Friend 

In order to oppose Jacobinism tiiey imitated it in its worst features ; in 
personal slander, in illegal violence, and even in the thirst for blood. 
They justified the corruptions of the state in the same spirit of sophistry, 
by the same vague arguments of general reason, and the same disregard 
of ancient ordinances and established opinions, with which the state 
itself had been attacked by the Jacobins. The wages of state-depen- 
dence were represented as sacred as the property won by industry or 
derived from a long line of ancestors. 

It was, indeed, evident to thinking men, that hoth parties were 
playing the same game with different counters. If the Jacobins ran 
wild with the rights of man, and the abstract sovereignty of the people, 
their antagonists flew off as extravagantly from the sober good sense of 
our forefathers, and idolized as mere an abstraction in the rights of 
sovereigns. Nor was this confined to sovereigns. They defended the 
exemptions and privileges of all privileged orders on the presumption of 
their inalienable right to them, however inexpedient they might have 
been found, as universally and abstractly as if these privileges had been 
decreed by the Supreme Wisdom, instead of being the offspring of 
chance or violence, or the inventions of human prudence. Thus, while 
they deemed themselves defending, they were in reality blackening and 
degrading the uninjurious and useful privileges of our English nobihty, 
which (thank Heaven !) rest on nobler and securer grounds. Thus too, 
the necessity of compensations for dethroned princes was affirmed as 
familiarly as if kingdoms had been private estates ; and no more 
disapprobation was expressed at the transfer of five or ten millions of 
men from one proprietor to another than of as many score head of cattle. 
This most degrading and superaimuated superstition, or rather this 
ghost of a defunct absurdity raised up by the necromancy of a violent 
reaction (such as the extreme of one system is sure to occasion in the 
adherents of its opposite), was more than once allowed to regulate our 
measures in the conduct of a war on which the independence of the 
British empire and the progressive civilization of all mankind depended. 
I could mention possessions of paramount and indispensable importance 
to first-rate national interests, the nominal sovereign of which had 
delivered up all his sea-ports and strongholds to the French, and main- 
tained a French army in his dominions, and had therefore, by the law 
of nations, made his territories French dependencies — which possessions 
were not to be touched, though the natural inhabitants were eager to place 
themselves under our peimanent protection — and why ? — They were the 

property of the king of ! All the grandeur and majesty of the law of 

nations, which taught our ancestors to distinguish between a European 
sovereign and the miserable despots of oriental barbarism, and to con- 
sider the former as the representative of the nation which he governed, 
and as inextricably connected with its fortunes as sovereign, were merged 

Section 1. — Essay 5. 137 

in the basest personality. Instead of the interests of mighty nations, it 
seemed as if a mere lawsuit were carrying on between John Doe and 
Kichard Eoe! The happiness of millions was light in the balance, 
weighed against a theatric compassion for one individual and his family, 
who (I speak from facts that I myself know) if tbey feared the French 
more, hated us worse. Though the restoration of good sense commenced 
during the interval of the peace of Amiens, yet it was not till the 
Spanish insurrection that Englishmen of all parties recurred, in toto, to 
the old English principles, and spoke of their Hampdens, Sidneys, and 
Miltons, with the old enthusiasm. During the last war, an acquaintance 
of mine (least of all men a political zealot) had christened a vessel 
which he had just built — The Liberty ; and was seriously admonished 
by his aristrocratic friends to change it for some other name. " What !" 
replied the owner very innocently, " should I call it The Freedom ?" 
" That (it was replied) would be far better, as people might then think 
only of freedom of trade ; whereas liberty has a Jacobinical sound with 
it !" " Alas ! (and this is an observation of Sir J. Denham and of Burke) 
is there then no medium between an ague-fit and a frenzy-fever ?" 

I have said that to withstand the arguments of the lawless, the Anti - 
jacobins proposed to suspend the law, and by the interposition of a 
particular statute to eclipse the blessed light of the universal sun, that 
spies and informers might tyrannize and escape in the ominous darkness. 
Oh ! if these mistaken men, intoxicated with alarm and bewildered by 
that panic of property which they themselves were the chief agents in 
exciting, had ever lived in a country where there was indeed a general 
disposition to change and rebellion ! Had they ever travelled through 
Sicily, or through France at the first coming on of the revolution, or 
even, alas ! through too many of the provinces of a sister-land, they 
could not but have shrunk from their own declarations concerning the 
state of feeling and opinion at that time predominant throughout G^-eat 
Britain. There was a time (Heaven grant that that time may have passed 
by) when by crossing a naiTow strait they might have learnt the true 
symptoms of approaching danger, and have secured themselves from 
mistaking the meetings and idle rant of such sedition as shrank ap- 
palled from the sight of a constable, for the dire murmuring and strange 
consternation which precedes the storm, or earthquake of national dis- 
cord. Not only in coffee-houses and public theatres, but even at the 
tables of the wealthy, they would have heard the advocates of existing 
government defend their cause in the language and with the tone of 
men, who are conscious that they are in a minority. But in England, 
■."hen the alarm was at the highest, there was not a city, no, not a town 
in which a man suspected of holding democratic principles could move 
abroad without receiving some unpleasant proof of the hatred in which 
his supposed opinions were held by the great majority of the people; 

138 The Friend, 

and the only instances of popular «xcess and indignation were on tlie 
side of the government and the Established Church. But why need I 
appeal to these invidious facts? Turn over the pages of histoiy, and 
seek for a single instance of a revolution having been effected without 
the concurrence of either the nobles, or the ecclesiastics, or the monied 
classes, in any country in which the influences of property had ever 
been predominant, and where the interests of the proprietors were in- 
terlinked ! Examine the revolution of the Belgic provinces under 
Philip II. ; the civil wars of France in the preceding generation, the 
history of the American revolution, or the yet more recent events in 
Sweden and in Spain ; and it will be scarcely possible not to perceive, 
that in England, from 1791 to the peace of Amiens, there were neither 
tendencies to confederacy nor actual confederacies, against which the 
existing laws had not provided both sufficient safeguards and an ample 
pimishment. But alas ! the panic of property had been struck in the 
first instance for party purposes ; and when it became general, its pro- 
pagators caught it themselves, and ended in believing their own lie ; 
even as our bulls in Borrodale sometimes run mad with the echo of their 
own bellowing. The consequences were most injurious. Our attention 
was concentrated on a monster which could not survive the convulsions 
in which it had been brought forth, even the enlightened Burke himself 
too often talking and reasoning as if a perpetual and organized anarchy 
had been a possible thing ! Thus while we were warring against French 
doctrines, we took little heed whether the means by which we attempted 
to overthrow them, were not likely to aid and augment the far more 
formidable evil of French ambition. Like children we ran away from 
the yelping of a cur and took shelter at ^he heels of a vicious war-horse. 
The conduct of the aristocratic party was equally unwise in private 
life and to individuals, especially to the young and inexperienced, who 
were surely to be forgiven for having had their imagination dazzled, and 
their enthusiasm kindled, by a novelty so specious, that even an old and 
tried statesman had pronounced it " a stupendous monument of human 
wisdom and human happiness." This was indeed a gross delusion, but, 
assuredly for young men at least, a very venial one. To hope too 
boldly of human nature is a fault which all good men have an interest 
in forgiving. Nor was it less removeable than venial, if the party had 
taken the only way by which the error eould be, or even ought to have 
been, removed. Having first sympathized with the warm benevolence 
and the enthusiasm for liberty which had consecrated It, they should 
have then shown the young enthusiasts that liberty was not the only 
blessing of society ; that though desirable, even for its own sake, it yet 
derived its main value as the means of calling forth and securing other 
advantages and excellencies, the activities of industry, the security of 
life and property, the peaceful energies of genius and manifold talent, 

Section 1. — Essay 5. 139 

fhe development of the moral virtues, and the independence and dignity 
of the nation in its relations to foreign powers ; and that neither these 
nor liberty itself could subsist in a country so various in its soils, so 
long inhabited and so fully peopled as Great Britain, without difference 
of ranks and without laws which recognized and protected the privileges 
of each. But instead of thus winning them back from the snare, they 
too often drove them into it by angry contumehes, which being in con- 
tradiction with each other could only excite contempt for those that 
uttered them. To prove the folly of the opinions, they were represented 
as the crude fancies of unfledged wits and school-boy statesmen ; but 
when abhorrence was to be expressed, the self-same unfledged school- 
boys were invested with all the attributes of brooding conspiracy and 
hoary-headed treason. Nay, a sentence of absolute reprobation was 
passed on them ; and the speculative error of Jacobinism was equalized 
to the mysterious sin in Scripture, which in some inexplicable manner 
excludes not only mercy but even repentance. It became the watch- 
word of the party, "once a Jacobin always a Jacobin." And 
wherefore ?* (We will suppose this question asked by an individual, who 
in his youth or earliest manhood had been enamoured of a system 
which for him had combined at once the austere beauty of science with 
all the light and colours of imagination, and with all the warmth of 
wide reUgious charity, and who, overlooking its ideal essence, had dreamt 
oLactuaUy building a government on personal and natural rights alone.) 
And wherefore ? Is Jacobinism an absurdity, and have we no under- 
standing to detect it with? Is it productive of all misery and all 
horrors, and have we no natural humanity to make us turn away with 
indignation and loathing from it? Uproar and confusion, insecurity 
of-,person and of property, the tyranny of mobs or the domination of a 
soldiery ; private houses changed to brothels, the ceremony of marriage 
but an initiation to harlotry, and marriage itself degraded to mere con- 
cubinage — these, the wiser advocates of aristocracy have said, and truly 
said, are the effects of Jacobinism ! In private life, an insufferable licen- 
tiousness, and abroad an intolerable despotism ! " Once a Jacobin, 
always a Jacobin " — Oh wherefore ? Is it because the creed which we 
have stated is dazzling at first sight to the young, the innocent, the dis- 
interested, and to those who, judging of men in general from their own 
uncorrupted hearts, judge erroneously, and expect unwisely ? Is it be- 
cause it deceives the mind in its purest and most flexible period ? Is it 

• The passage which follows was first pub- Mr. Southey's juvenile drama, Wat Tyler, 

lish^ In the Morning Post, in the year 1800, and the consequent assault on his character 

and contained, if I mistake not, the first by an M. P. in his senatorial capacity, to 

philosophical appropriation of or precise whom the Publishers are doubtless knit by 

Import to the word Jacobin, as distinct from the twofold tie ol sympathy and gratitude. 

Kepublican, Democrat, and Demagogue. The The names of the publishers are Sherwr^-d, 

whole Essay has a peculiar interest to my- Nealy and Jones j their benefactor's uaaie 

self at the present moment (1 May 1817), is William Smith. 
from the recent notorious publication of 

140 The Friend. 

because it is an error, that every day's experience aids to detect ? An 
error against which all history is full of warning examples ? Or is it 
because the experiment has been tried before our eyes and the error 
made palpable ? 

From what source are we to derive this strange phenomenon, that the 
young and the enthusiastic, who, as our daily experience informs iis, 
are deceived in their religious antipathies, and grow wiser ; in their 
friendships, and grow wiser ; in their modes of pleasure, and grow wiser ; 
should, if once deceived in a question of abstract politics, cling to the 
error for ever and ever ? And this too, although in addition to the 
natural growth of judgment and information with increase of years, they 
live in the age in which the tenets have been acted upon ; and though 
the consequences have been such, that every good man's heart sickens, 
and his head turns giddy at the retrospect. 


Truth I pursued, as fancy sketch'd the way, 

And wiser men than I went worse astray MS. 

I WAS never myself, at any period of my life, a convert to the system. 
From my earliest manhood, it was an axiom in politics with me, that 
in every country where property prevailed, property must be the grand 
basis of the government ; and that that government was the best, in 
which the power or political influence of the individual was in propor- 
tion to his property, provided that the free circulation of property was 
not impeded by any positive laws or customs, nor the tendency of 
wealth to accumulate in abiding masses unduly encouraged. I perceived, 
that if the people at large were neither ignorant nor immoral, there 
could be no motive for a sudden and violent change of government ; and 
if they were, there could be no hope but of a change for the worse. 
" The temple of despotism, like that of the Mexican god, would be 
rebuilt with human skulls, and more firmly, though in a different archi- 
tecture."* Thanks to the excellent education which I had received, my 
reason was too clear not to draw this " circle of power " round me, and 
my spirit too honest to attempt to break through it. My feelings, how- 
ever, and imagination did not remain unkindled in this general confla- 
gration ; and I confess I should be more inclined to be ashamed than 
proud of myself, if they had : I was a sharer in the general vortex 
though my little world described the path of its revolution in an orbit 
of its own. What I dared not expect from constitutions of government 
and whole nations, I hoped from religion and a small company of chosen 
individuals, and formed a plan, as harmless as it was extravagant, of 
• To the beat of my recollection, these were Mr. Southey's words in the year 1V94, 

Section 1. — Esmy 6. 141 

trying the experiment of human perfectihility on the banks of the Sus- 
quehannah ; where our little society, in its second generation was to 
have combined the innocence of the patriarchal age with the knowledge 
and genuine refinements of European culture ; and where I dreamt that 
in the sober evening of my life, I should behold the cottages of inde- 
pendence in the undivided dale of industry, 

And oft, sootlied sadly by some dirgeful ■wind 
Muse on the sore ills 1 had left behind ! 

Strange fancies ! and as vain as strange ! yet to the intense interest and 
impassioned zeal which called forth and strained every faculty of my 
intellect for the organization and defence of this scheme, I owe much of 
whatever I at present possess, my clearest insight into the nature of 
individual man, and my most comprehensive views of his social rela- 
tions, of the true uses of trade and commerce, and how far the wealth 
and relative power of nations promote or impede their welfare and in- 
herent strength. Nor were they less serviceable in securing myself, and 
perhaps some others, from the pitfalls of sedition ; and when we 
alighted on the firm ground of common sense from the gradually 
exhausted balloon of youthful enthusiasm, though the air-built castles 
which we had been pursuing had vanished with all their pageantry of 
shifting forms and glowing colours, we were yet free from the stains and 
impurities which might have remained upon us, had we been travelling 
with the crowd of less imaginative malcontents through the dark lanes 
and foul bye-roads of ordinary fanaticism. 

But oh ! there were thousands as young and as innocent as myself 
who, not like me, sheltered in the tranquil nook or inland cove of a 
particular fancy, were driven along with the general current ! Many 
there were, young men of loftiest minds, yea, the prime stuff out of 
which manly wisdom and practical greatness is to be formed, who had 
appropriated their hopes and the ardour of their souls to mankind at 
large, to the wide expanse of national interests, which then seemed 
fermenting in the Fi'ench republic as in the main outlet and chief crater 
of the revolutionary toiTents ; and who confidently believed, that these 
torrents, hke the lavas of Vesuvius, were to subside into a soil of in- 
exhaustible fertility on the circumjacent lands, the old divisions and 
mouldeiing edifices of which they had covered or swept away — enthu- 
siasts of kindliest temperament, who, to use the words of the poet (having 
already borrowed the meaning and the metaphor) had approached 

the shield 
Of human nature from the golden side, 
And would have fought even to the death to attest 
The quaUty of the metal which they saw. 

My honoured friend has permitted me to give a value and relief to the 
present essay by a quotation from one of his unpublished poems, the 

142 The Friend. 

length of which I regret only from its forbidding me to trespass on Mfl 
kindness by making it yet longer. I trust there are many of my readers 
of the same age with myself, who will throw themselves back into th^ 
state of thought and feeling in which they were when France was 
reported to have solemnized her first sacrifice of error and prejudice on 
the bloodless altar of freedom, by an oath of peace and good-will to all 

Oh ! pleasant exercise of hope and Joy ! 
For mighty were the auxiliars, which then stood 
Upon our side, we who were strong in love ! 
Bliss was it in that dawn to be alive, 
But to be young was very heaven ! oh ! times 
In which the meagre stale forbidding ways 
Of custom, law, and statute, took at once 
The attraction of a country in romance ! 
When reason seem'd the most to assert her rights, 
When most intent on making of herself 
A prime enchanter to assist the work. 
Which then was going forward in her name ! 
Not favour'd spots alone, but the whole earth 
The beauty wore of promise — that which sets 
(To take an image which was felt no doubt 
Among the bowers of Paradise itself) 
The budding rose above the rose full blown, 
Wbat temper at the prospect did not wake 
To happiness unthought of ? The inert 
Were rous'd, and lively natures rapt away ! 
They who had fed their childhood upon dreams, 
The play-fellows of fancy, who had made 
All powers of swiftness, subtilty, and strength 
Their ministers, used to stir in lordly wise 
Among the grandest objects of the sense. 
And deal with whatsoever they found there 
As if they had within some lurking right 
To wield it ; — they too, who of gentle mood 
Had watoh'd all gentle motions, and to these 
Had fitted their own thoughts, schemers more mild 
And in the region of their peaceful selves ; — 
Now was it that both found, the meek and lofty 
Did both find helpers to their heart's desire 
I And stuff at hand, plastic as they could wish 1— 

• ' Were call'd upon to exercise their skill 

Not in Utopia, subterraneous fields, 
' Or some secreted island. Heaven knows where ! 

But in the very world, which is tke world 
Of all of us, the place where in the end 
We find our happiness, or not at all I 


The peace of Amiens deserved the name of peace, for it gave ug una- 
nimity at home, and reconciled Englishmen with each other. Yet it 
would be as wild a fancy as any of which we have treated, to expect 
that the violence of party spirit is never more to return. Sooner or 
later the same causes, or their equivalents, will call forth the same 
opposition of opinion, and bring the same passions into play. Ample 

Section 1. — JiJsmy 6. 143 

would be my recompense, could I foresee that this present essay would 
be the means of preventing discord and unhappiness in a single family ; 
if its words of warning, aided by ita tones of sympathy, should arm a 
single man of genius against the fascinations of his own ideal world, a 
single philanthropist against the enthusiasm of his own heart! Not 
less would be my satisfaction, dared I flatter myself that my lucubra- 
tions would not be altogether without affect on those who deem them- 
selves men of judgment, faithful to the light of practice, and not to be 
led astray by the wandering fires of theory ! If I should aid in making 
these aware, that in recoiling with too incautious an abhorrence from 
the bugbears of innovation, they may sink all at once into the slough 
of slavishness and corruption. Let such persons recollect that the 
charms of hope and novelty furnish some palliation for the idolatry to 
which they seduce the mind ; but that the apotheosis of familiar abuses 
and of the errors of selfishness is the vilest of superstitions. Let them 
recollect too, that nothing can be more incongruous than to combine the 
pusiUanimity, which despairs of human improvement, with the arro- 
gance, supercilious contempt, and boisterous anger, which have no pre- 
tensions to pardon except as the overflowings of ardent anticipation and 
enthusiastic faith ! And finally, and above all, let it be remembered by 
both parties, and indeed by controversialists on all subjects, that every 
speculative error which boasts a multitude of advocates, has its golden 
as well as its dark side ; that there is always some truth connected with 
it, the exclusive attention to which has misled the understanding, some 
moral beauty which has given it charms for the heart. Let it be re- 
membered, that no assailant of an error can reasonably hope to be 
listened to by its advocates, who has not proved to them that he has 
seen the disputed subject in the same point of view, and is capable of 
contemplating it with the same feelings as themselves : (for why should 
we abandon a cause at the persuasions of one who is ignorant of the 
reasons which have attached us to it ?) Let it be remembered that to 
write, however ably, merely to convince those who are already con- 
vinced, displays but the courage of a boaster ; and in any subject to 
rail against the evil before we have inquired for the good, and to exas- 
perate the passions of those who think with us, by caricaturing the 
opinions and blackening the motives of our antagonists, is to make 
the understanding the pander of the passions; and even though we 
should have defended the right cause, to gain for ourselves ultimately, 
from the good and the wise, no other praise than the Supreme Judge 
awarded to the friends of Job for their partial and uncharitable defence 
of His justice : " My wrath is kindled against you, for ye have not spoken 
3f Me rightfully ."* 

•Jobxlii. Y. 

144 The Friend. 



'Oirep yap ot Tas eyxeAeis 6-rjf>ii>fi.evoi TreVoi'Sas" 

'Orav nivij Ai/iJT) (carao-r^, KafJiPavova-LV ovSeV 

"Eav 6'arw re (cai (caTw Tov ^op^opov kvkUktw, 

Aipovo-f KOI crv Kaii^dvei.?, fjv rriv 7roA.1v TapoTnis* 
(rransZa^ton.)— It is with you as with those that are hunting for eels. While the pond Ifl 
clear and settled, they take nothing ; but if they stir up the mud high and low, then thfey 
bring up the fish : — and you succeed only as far as you can set the state in tumult and con- 

IN a passage in tlie last essay, I referred to the second part of the 
" Eights of Man," in which Paine assures his readers that their poverty 
is the consequence of taxation : that taxes are rendered necessary only by 
wars and state-corruption ; that war and corruption are entirely owing 
to monarchy and aristocracy; that by a revolution and a brotherly 
alUance with the French republic, our land and sea forces, our revenue 
officers, and three-fourths of our pensioners, placemen, &c., &c., would 
be rendered superfluous ; and that a small part of the expenses thus 
saved would suffice for the maintenance of the poor, the infirm, and the 
aged, throughout the kingdom^ Would to Heaven that this infamous 
mode of misleading and flattering the lower classes were confined to the 
writings of Thomas Paine ! But how often do we hear, even from the 
mouths of our parliamentary advocates for popularity, the taxes stated 
as so much money actually lost to the people; and a nation in debt 
represented as the same both in kind and consequences, as an individual 
tradesman on the brink of bankruptcy ? It is scarcely possible, that 
these men should be themselves deceived ; that they should be so igno- 
rant of history as not to know that the freest nations, being at the same 
time commercial, have been at all times the most heavily taxed : or so 
void of common sense as not to see that there is no analogy in the case 
of a tradesman and his creditors, to a nation indebted to itself. Surely 
a much fairer instance would be that of a husband and wife playing 
cards at the same table against each other, where what the one loses 
the other gains. Taxes may be indeed, and often are injurious to a 
country ; at no time, however, from their amount merely, but from the 
time or injudicious mode in which they are raised. A great statesman, 
lately deceased, in one of his anti-ministerial harangues against some 
proposed impost, said : " the nation has been already bled in every vein, 
and is faint with loss of blood." This blood, however, was circulating in 
the mean time through the whole body of the state, and what was 
received into one chamber of the heart was instantly sent out again at 

• For the moral effects of our present from its wealth, the reader is referred to the 
system of finance, and its consequences on author's Second Lay Semjon, and to the 
the welfare of the nation, as distinguished Section of Morals in this worls. 

Section 1. — Essay 7. 145 

the other portal. Had he wanted a mefciphor to convey the possible 
injuries of taxation, he migbt have found one less opposite to the fact in 
the known disease of aneurism, or relaxation of the coats of particular 
vessels, by a disproportionate accumulation of blood in them,- which 
sometimes occurs when the circulation has been suddenly and violently 
changed, and causes helplessness, or even mortal stagnation, though the 
total quantity of blood remains the same in the system at large. 

But a fuller and fairer symbol of taxation, both in its possible good 
and evil effects, is to be found in the evaporation of waters from the 
surface of the planet. The sun may draw up the moisture from the 
river, the morass, and the ocean, to be given back in genial showers to 
the garden, the pasture, and the corn-field ; but it may likewise force 
away the moisture from the fields of tillage, to drop it on the stagnant 
pool, the saturated swamp, or the unprofitable sand-waste. The gardens 
in the south of Europe supply, perhaps, a not less apt illustration of a 
system of finance judiciously conducted, where the tanks or reservoirs 
would represent the capital of a nation, and the hundred rills hourly 
varying their channels and directions under the gardener's spade, give 
a pleasing image of the dispersion of that capital through the whole 
population, by the joint effect of taxation and trade. For taxation itself 
is a part of commerce, and the government may be fairly considered as 
a great manufacturing house carrying on in different places, by means 
of its partners and overseers, the trades of the ship-builder, the clothier, 
the iron-founder, and the like. 

There are so many real evils, so many just causes of complaint in the 
constitution and administration of governments, our own not excepted, 
that it becomes the imperious duty of every well-wisher of his country, 
to prevent, as much as in him lies, the feelings and efforts of his com- 
patriots from losing themselves on a wrong scent. Whether a system 
of taxation is injurious or beneficial on the whole, is to be known, not by 
the amount of the sum taken from each individual, but by that which 
remains behind. A war will doubtless cause a stagnation of certain 
branches of trade, and severe temporary distress in the places where those 
branches are carried on ; but are not the same effects produced in time 
of peace by prohibitory edicts and commercial regulations of foreign 
powers, or by new rivals with superior advantages in other countries, or 
in different parts of the same ? Bristol has, doubtless, been injured by 
the rapid prosperity of Liverpool and its superior spirit of enterprise ; 
and the vast machines of Lancashire have overwhelmed and rendered 
hopeless the domestic industry of the females in the cottages and small 
fsmn-houses of Westmoreland and Cumberland. But if i^eace has its 
stagnations as well as war, does not war create or re-enliven numerous 
branches of industry as well as peace ? Is it not a fact, that not only 
our own military and naval forces but even a part of those of our enemy 


146 The Friend. 

are armed tnd clothed by British, manufacturers? It cannot be 
doubted, that the whole of our immense military force is better and more 
expensively clothed, and both these and our sailors better fed, than the 
same persons would be in their individual capacities ; and this forma 
one of the real expenses of war. Not, I say, that so much more money 
is raised, but that so much more of the means of comfortable existence 
are consumed than would otherwise have been. But does not this, like 
all other luxury, act as a stimulus on the producing classes, and this in 
the most useful manner, and on the most important branches of pro- 
duction, on the tiller, on the grazier, the clothier, and the maker of 
arms ? Had it been otherwise, is it possible that the receipts from the 
property tax should have increased instead of decreased, notwithstanding 
all the rage of our enemy ? 

Surely, uever from the beginning of the world was such a tribute of 
admiration paid by one power to another, as Buonaparte within the last 
few years has paid to the British empire ! With all the natural and arti- 
ficial powers of almost the whole of continental Europe, with all the 
fences and obstacles of all public and private morality broken down be- 
fore him, with a mighty empire of fifty millions of men, nearly two- 
thirds of whom speak the same language, and are as it were fused toge- 
ther by the intensest nationality ; with this mighty and swarming 
empire, organized in all its parts for war, and forming one huge camp, 
and himself combining in his own person the twofold power of monarch 
and commander-in-chief; with all these advantages, with all these stu- 
pendous instruments and inexhaustible resources of offence, this mighty 
being finds himself imprisoned by the enemy whom he most hates and 
would fain despise, insulted by every wave that breaks upon his shores, 
and condemned to behold his vast flotillas as worthless and idle as the 
sea-weed that rots around their keels ! After years of haughty menace 
and expensive preparations for the invasion of an island, the trees and 
buildings of which are visible from the roofs of his naval store- houses, 
he is at length compelled to make open confession, that he possesses one 
mean only of ruining Great Britain. And what is it? The ruin of his 
own enslaved subjects ! To undermine the resources of one enemy, he 
reduces the continent of Europe to the wretched state in which it was 
before the wide diffusion of trade and commerce, deprives its inhabit- 
ants of comforts and advantages to which they and their fathers had 
been for more than a century habituated, and thus destroys, as far as 
his power extends, a principal source of civilization, the origin of a 
middle class throughout Christendom, and with it the true balance of 
society, the parent of international law, the foster-nurse of general 
humanity, and (to sum up all in one) the main principle of attraction 
and repulsion, by which the nations were rapidly though insensibly 
drawing together iuto one systen:i, and by which alone they could com- 

Section 1. — Essay 7. 147 

bine the manifold blessings of distinct character and national indepen- 
dence with the needful stimulation and general influences of intercom- 
munity, and be virtually united without being crushed together by 
conquest, in order to waste away imder the tabes and slow putrefaction 
of a universal monarchy. This boasted pacificator of the world, thif 
earthly Providence,* as his Catholic Bishops blasphemously call him, 
professes to entertain no hope of purchasing the destruction of Great 
Britain at a less price than that of the barbarism of all Europe ! By 
the ordinary war of government against government, fleets against fleets, 
and armies against armies, he could effect nothing. His fleets might as 
well have been built at his own expense in our dockyards, as tribute- 
offerings to the masters of the ocean ; and his army of England lie en- 
camped on his coasts like wolves baying the moon ! 

Delightful to humane and contemplative minds was the idea of count 
less individual eflbrts working together by a common instinct and to a 
common object, under the protection of an unwritten code of religion, 
philosophy, and common interest, which made peace and brotherhood 
co-exist with the most active hostility. Not in the untamed plains of 
Tartary, but in the very bosom of civilization, and himself indebted to 
its fostering care for his own education and for all the means of his 
elevation and power, did this genuine offspring of the old serpent warm 
himself into the fiend-like resolve of waging war against mankind and 
the quiet growth of the world's improvement — in an emphatic sense the 
enemy of the human race ! By these means only he deems Great Britain 
assailable, (a strong presumption that our prosperity is built on the 
common interests of mankind !) — this he acknowledges to be his only 
hope — and in this hope he has been utterly baffled ! 

To what then do we owe our strength and our immunity ? The 
sovereignty of law ; the incorruptness of its administration ; the number 
and political importance of our religious sects, which in an incalculable 
degi'ee have added to the dignity of the establishment ; the purity, or at 
least the decorum of private morals, and the independence, activity, and 
weight, of public opinion ? These and similar advantages are doubtless 
the materials of the fortress, but what has been the cement ? What has 
bound them together? What has rendered Great Britain, from the 
Orkneys to the rocks of Scilly, indeed and with more than metaphorical 
propriety a body politic, our roads, rivers, and canals being so truly thr, 
yeins, arteries, and nerves of the state, that every pulse in the metro- 
polis produces a correspondent pulsation in the remotest village on its 

• It has been well remarked, that there is strated with him on the inhumanity of hig 

iomething far more shocking in the tyrant's devastations : Cur me. hominem putas, d non 

pretensions to the gracious attributes of the potius iram Dei in terris agentem ob per- 

Supreme Ruler, than in his most remorseless mciem humani generis ? Why do you deem 

cruelties. There is a sort of wild grandeur, me a man, and not rather the incarnate 

not ungi-atifying to the inia^'nation, in the T\Tath of God acting on the earth for the 

answer of Timur Khan to one who remon- ruin cfm,inkiridf 

148 The Friend. 

extreme shores? What made the stoppage of the national bank the 
conversation of a day without causing one irregular throb, or the stag- 
nation of the commercial current in the minutest vessel? I answer 
without hesitation, that the cause and mother principle of this unex- 
ampled confidence, of this system of credit, which is as much stronger 
than mere positive possessions, as the soul of man is than his tody, or 
as the force of a mighty mass in free motion, than the pressure of its 
separate component parts would be in a state of rest — the main cause 
of this, I say, has been our national debt. What its injurious effects 
on the literature, the morals, and religious principles, have been, I shall 
hereafter develop with the same boldness. But as to our political 
strength and circumstantial prosperity, it is the national debt which 
has wedded in indissoluble union all the interests of the state, the landed 
with the commercial, and the man of independent fortune with the 
stirring tradesman and reposing annuitant. It is the national debt, 
which, by the rapid nominal rise in the value of things, has made it 
impossible for any considerable number of men to retain their own 
former comforts without joining in the common industry, and adding to 
the stock of national produce ; which thus first necessitates a general 
activity, and then by the immediate and ample credit, which is never 
wanting to him who has any object on which his activity can employ 
itself, gives each man the means not only of preserving but of increas- 
ing and multiplying all his former enjoyments, and all the symbols of 
the rank in which he was bom. It is this which has planted the naked 
hills and enclosed the bleak wastes in the Lowlands of Scotland not less 
than in the wealthier districts of South Britain ; it is this, which leaving 
all the other causes of patriotism and national fervour undiminished and 
uninjured, has added to our public duties the same feeling of necessity, 
the same sense of immediate self-interest, which in other countries 
actuates the members of a single family in their conduct towards each 

Somewhat more than a year ago, I happened to be on a visit with a 
friend, in a small market town in the south-west of England, when 
one of the company turned the conversation to the weight of taxes and 
the consequent hardness of the times. I answered, that if the taxes 
were a real weight, and that in proportion to their amount, we must 
have been ruined long ago ; for Mr. Hume, who had proceeded, as on a 
self-evident axiom, on the hypothesis, that a debt of a nation was the 
same as a debt of an individual, had declared our ruin arithmetically 
demonstrable, if the national debt increased beyond a certain sum. 
Since his time it has more than quintupled that sum, and yet — True, 
answered my friend, but the principle might be right though he might 
have been mistaken in the time. But still, I rejomed, if "the principle 
were right, the nearer we came to that given point, and the greater and 

Section 1. — Essay 7. 149 

the more active the pernicious cause became, the more manifest would 
ts effects he. We might not be absolutely ruined, but our embarrass- 
ments would increase in some proportion to their cause. Whereas in- 
stead of being poorer and poorer, we are richer and richer. Will any 
man in his senses contend, that the actual labour and produce of the 
30untry has not only been decupled within half a century, but increased 
80 prodigiously beyond that decuple as to make six hundred millions a 
less weight to us than fifty millions were in the days of our grand- 
fathers ? But if it really be so, to what can we attribute this stupen- 
dous progression of national improvement, but to that system of credit 
and paper currency, of which the national debt is both the reservoir and 
the water-works ? A constant cause should have constant effects ; but 
if you deem that this is some anomaly, some strange exception to the 
general rule, explain its mode of operatiou, make it comprehensible, how 
a cause acting on a whole nation can produce a regular and rapid in- 
crease of prosperity to a certain point, and then all at once pass from an 
Angel of Light into a demon of destruction ? That an individual house 
may live more and more luxuriously upon borrowed funds, and that 
when the suspicions of the creditors are awakened, and their patience 
exhausted, the luxurious sjjendthrift may all at once exchange his 
palace for a prison — this I can understand perfectly ; for I understand, 
whence the luxuries could be produced for the consumption of the in- 
dividual house, and who the creditors might be, and that it might be 
both their inclination and their interests to demand the debt, and to 
punish the insolvent debtor. But who are a nation's creditors ? The 
answer is, every man to every man. Whose possible interest could it 
be either to demand the principal, or to refuse his share toward the 
means of paying the interest? Not the merchant's; for he would but 
provoke a crash of bankruptcy, in which his own house would as neces- 
sarily be included, as a single card in a house of cards ! Not the land- 
holder's ; for in the general destruction of all credit, how could he obtain 
payment for the produce of his estates ? Not to mention the impro- 
LatiLity that he would remain the undisturbed possessor in so direful 
a concussion — not to mention that on him must fall the whole weight 
of the public necessities — not to mention, that from the merchant's 
credit depends the ever-increasing value of his land and the readiest 
means of improving it. Neither could it be the labourer's interest ; for 
he must be either thrown out of employ, and lie like the fish in the bed 
of a river from which the water has been diverted, or have the value of 
his labour reduced to nothing by the inruption of eager competitors. 
But least of all could it be the wish of the lexers of liberty, which 
must needs perish or be suspended, either by the horrors of anarchy, or 
by the absolute powei:, with which the government must be invested 
In order to prevent them. In short, with the exception of men deepe- 

150 ; The Friend. 

rate from guilt or debt, or mad with the blackest ambition, there is 
no plass or description of men who can have the least interest in pro- 
ducing or permitting a bankruptcy. If, then, neither experience has 
acquainted us with any national impoverishment or embarrasement 
from the increase of national debt, nor theory renders such efforts com- 
prehensible (for the predictions of Hume went on the false assumptiou, ■ 
that a part only of the nation was interested in the preservation of the I 
public credit), on what authority are we to ground our apprehensions? 
Does history record a single nation, in which relatively to taxation 
there were no privileged or exempted classes, in which there were no 
compulsory prices of labour, and in which the interests of all the dif- 
ferent classes and all the different districts, were mutually dependent 
and vitally co-organized, as in Great Britain— has history, I say, re- 
corded a single instance of such a nation ruined or dissolved by the 
weight of taxation ? In France there was no public credit, no commu- 
nion of interests ; its unprincipled government and the productive and 
taxable classes were as two individuals with separate interests. Its 
bankruptcy and the consequences of it are sufficiently comprehensible. 
Yet the Cahiers, or the instructions and complaints sent to the national 
assembly, from the towns and provinces of France (an immense mass 
of documents indeed, but without examination and patient perusal of 
which no man is entitled to write a history of the French revolution), 
these proved, beyond contradiction, that the amount of the taxes was 
one only, and that a subordinate cause of the revolutionary movement. 
Indeed, if the amount of the taxes could be disjoined from the mode of 
raising them, it might be fairly denied to have been a cause at all. 
Holland was taxed as heavily and as equally as ourselves ; but was it 
by taxation that Holland was reduced to its present miseries ? 

The mode in which taxes are supposed to act on the marketableness 
of our manufactures in foreign marts I shall examine on some future 
occasion, when I shall endeavour to explain in a more satisfactory way 
than has been hitherto done, to my apprehension at least, the real 
mode in which taxes act, and how and why and to what extent they 
affect the wealth, and what is of more consequence, the well-being of a 
nation. But in the present exigency, when the safety of the nation 
depends, on the one hand, on the sense which the people at large have of 
the comparative excellences of the laws and government, and on the 
firmness and wisdom of the legislators and enlightened classes in de? 
tecting, exposing, and removing its many particular abuses and cor- 
ruptions on the other, right views on this subject of taxation are of 
such especial importance ; and I have besides in my inmost nature such 
a loathing of factious falsehoods and mob sycophancy, i. e. the flattering 
of the multitude by informing against theij- betters ; that I cannot but 
revert to that poiat of the subject from which I began, namely, that th* 

Section 1. — Essay 7. 151 

weight of taxes is to be calculated not by what is paid, but by what is 
left. What matters it to a mau, that he pays six times more taxes 
than his father did, if, notwithstanding:, he with the same jxjrtion of 
exertion enjoys twice the comforts which his father did? Now this I 
solemnly afBnn to be the case in general, throughout England, accord- 
ing to all the facts wl-^.ch I have collected during an examination of 
years, wherever I have travelled, and wherever I have been resident. 
(I do not speak of Ireland or the Lowlands of Scotland ; and if I may 
trust to what I myself saw and heard there, I must even except the 
Highlands.) In the conversation which I have spoken of as taking 
place in the south-west of England, by the assistance of one or other of 
the company, we went through every family in the town and neigh- 
bourhood, and my assertion was found completely accurate, though the 
place had no one advantage over others, and many disadvantages, that 
heavy one in particular, the non-residence and frequent change of its 
Rectors, the living being always given to one of the Canons of Windsor, 
and resigned on the acceptance of better preferment. It was even 
asserted, and not only asserted but proved, by my friend (who has from 
his earliest youth devoted a strong, original understanding, and a heart 
warm and benevolent even to enthusiasm, to the service of the poor 
and the labouring class), that every sober labourer, in that part of 
England at least, who should not marry till thirty, might, without 
any hardship or extreme self-denial, commence housekeeping at the 
age of thirty, with from a hundred to a hundred and twenty pounds 
belonging to him. I have no doubt, that on seeing this essay, my 
friend will communicate to me the proof in detail. But the price of 
labour in the south-west of England is full one-third less than in the 
greater number, if not all, of the northern counties. What then is want- 
ing ? Not the repeai of taxes ; but the increased activity both of the 
gentry and clergy of the land, in securing the instruction of the lower 
classes. A system of education is wanting, such a system as that dis- 
covered, and to the blessings of thousands reahzed, by Dr. Bell, which 
I never am nor can be weary of praising, while my heart retains any 
spark of regard for human nature, or of reverence for human virtue — a 
system, by which in the very act of receiving knowledge, the best 
virtues and most useful qualities of the moral character are awakened, 
developed, and formed into habits. Were there a Bishop of Durham 
(no odds whether a temporal or a spiritual lord) in every county or 
half county, and a clergyman enlightened with the views and animated 
with the spirit of Dr. Bell in every parish, we might bid defiance to 
the present weight of taxes, and boldly challenge the whole world to 
show a peasantry as well fed and clothed as the English, or with equal 
chances of improving their situation, and of securing an old age of repos 
ami comfort to a life of cheerful industry. 

152 The Friend. 

I will add one other anecdote, as it demonstrates, incontrovertibly, 
the error of the vulgar opinion, that taxes make things really dear, 
taking in the whole of a man's expenditure. A friend of mine, who 
has passed some years in America, was questioned by an American- 
tradesman, in one of their cities of the second class, concerning the 
names and number of our taxes and rates. The answer seemed per- 
fectly to astound him ; and he exclaimed, " How is it possible that men 
can live in such a country ? In this land of liberty we never see the 
face of a tax-gatherer, nor hear of a duty except in our sea-ports." My 
friend, who was perfect master of the question, made semblance of turn- 
ing off the conversation to another subject : and then, without any 
apparent reference to the former topic, asked the American, for what 
sum he thought a man could live in such and such a style, with so many 
servants, in a house of such dimensions and such a situation (still 
keeping in his mind the situation of a thriving and respectable shop- 
keeper and householder in different parts of England), first supposing 
him to reside in Philadelphia or New York, and then in some town of 
secondary importance. Having received a detailed answer to these 
questions, he proceeded to convince the American, that notwithstanding 
all our taxes, a man might live in the same style, but with incom- 
parably greater comforts, on the same income in London as in New 
York, and on a considerably less income in Exeter or Bristol, than in 
any American provincial town of the same relative importance. It 
would be insulting my readers to discuss on how much less a person 
may vegetate or brutalize in the back settlements of the republic, than 
he could live as a man, as a rational and social being, in an English 
village ; and it would be wasting time to infonn him, that where men 
are comparatively few, and unoccupied land is in inexhaustible abun- 
dance, the labourer and common mechanic must needs receive (not 
only nominally but really) higher wages than in a populous and fully 
occupied country. But that the American labourer is therefore hap- 
pier, or even in possession of more comforts and conveniences of life 
than a sober or industrious English labourer or mechanic, remains to be 
proved. In conducting the comparison we must not however exclude 
the operation of moral causes, when these causes are not accidental, but 
arise out of the nature of the country and the constitution of the 
government and society. This being the case, take away from the 
American's wages all the taxes which his insolence, sloth, and attach- 
ment to spirituous liquors impose ou him, and judge of the remainder 
by his house, his household furniture, and utensils ; and if I have not 
been grievously deceived by those whose veracity and good sense I 
have found unquestionable in all other respects, the cottage of an honest 
English husbandman, in the service of an enlightened and liberal farmer, 
who is paid fir his labour at the price usual in Yorkshire or Northiim* 

Section 1. — Essay 7. 153 

berland, would in the mind of a man in the same rank of life, who had 
Been a true account of America, excite no ideas favourable to emigra- 
tion. This, however, I confess, is a balance of morals rather than of 
circumstances : it proves, however, that where foresight and good 
morals exist, the taxes do not stand in the way of an indust:-«us man's 

Dr. Price almost succeeded in persuading the English nation (for it is 
a curious fact that the fancy of our calamitous situation is a sort of 
necessary sauce without which our real prosperity would become insipid 
to us) Dr. Price, I say, alarmed the country with pretended proofs that 
the island was in a rapid state of depopulation, that England at the 
Revolution had been. Heaven knows how much more populous ; and 
that in Queen Elizabeth's time, or about the Reformation (! ! !), the num- 
ber of inhabitants in England might have been greater than even at 
the Revolution. My old mathematical master, a man of an uncom- 
monly clear head, answered this blundering book of the worthy doctor's, 
and left not a stone unturned of the pompous cenotaph in which the 
effigy of the still living and bustling English prosperity lay interred. 
And yet so much more suitable was the doctor's book to the purposes of 
faction, and to the November mood of (what is called) the public, that 
Mr. Wales's pamphlet, though a masterpiece of perspicacity as well as 
perspicuity, was scarcely heard of. This tendency to political night- 
mares in our countrymen reminds me of a superstition, or rather 
nervous disease, not uncommon in the Highlands of Scotland, in which 
men, though broad awake, imagine they see themselves lying dead at 
a small distance from them. The act of parliament for ascertaining 
the population of the empire has laid for ever this uneasy ghost ; and 
now, forsooth ! we are on the brink of ruin from the excess of popula- 
tion, and he who would prevent the poor from rotting away in disease, 
misery, and wickedness, is an enemy to his country ! A lately de- 
ceased miser, of immense wealth, is reported to have been so delighted 
with this splendid discovery, as to have offered a handsome annuity to 
the author, in part of payment, for this new and welcome piece of heart- 
armour. This, however, we may deduce from the fact of our increased 
population, that if clothing and food had actually become dearer in 
proportion to the means of procuring them, it would be as absurd tc 
ascribe this effect to increased taxation, as to attribute the scantiness of 
fare, at a public ordinary, to the landlord's bill, when twice the usual 
number of guests had sat down to the same number of dishes. But 
the fact is notoriously otherwise, and every man has the means of 
discovering it in his own house and in that of his neighbours, pro- 
vided that he makes the proper allowances for the disturbing force's of 
individual vice and imprudence. If this be the ease, I put it to the 
consciences of our literary f lemagogues, whether a lie. for the purposes 

154 The Friend. 

li creating public disunion and dejection, is not as much a He, as one 
for the purpose of exciting discord among individuals. I intreat my 
readers to recollect that the present nuestion does not concern the effects 
of taxation on the public independence and on the supposed balance of 
the three constitutional powers (from which said balance, as well as 
from the balance of trade, I own, I have never been able to elicit one 
ray of common sense). That the nature of our constitution has been 
greatly modified by the funding system, I do mitdeny; whether for 
good or for evil, on the whole, will form part of my Essay on the British 
constitution as it actually exists. 

There are many and great public evils, all of which are to be la- 
mented, some of which may be and ought to be removed, and none of 
which can consistently with wisdom or honesty be kept concealed from 
the public. As far as these originate in false principles, or in the con- 
tempt or neglect of right ones (and as such belonging to the plan of The 
Friend), I shall not hesitate to make known my opinions concerning 
them with the same fearless simplicity with which I have endeavoured 
to expose the errors of discontent and the artifices of faction. But for 
the very reason that there are great evils, the more does it behove us not 
to open out on a false scent. 

I will conclude this essay with the examination of an article in a pro- 
vincial paper of a recent date, which is now lying before me ; the acci- 
dental perusal of which, occasioned the whole of the preceding remarks. 
In order to guard against a possible mistake, I must premise, that I have 
not the most distant intention of defending the plan or conduct of our 
late expeditions, and should be grossly calumniated if I were represented 
as an advocate for carelessness or prodigality in the management of the 
public purse. The public money may or may not have been culpably 
wasted. I confine myself entirely to the general falsehood of the prin- 
ciple in the article here cited ; for I am convinced, that any hopes of 
reform originating in such notions, must end in disappointment and 
public mockery. 


We have unfortunately of late been so much accustomed to read of millions being spent 
in one expedition, and millions being spent in another, that a comparative insignificance ia 
attached to an Immense sum of money, by calling it only a few millions. Perhaps some of 
our readers may have their judgment a little improved by making a few calculations, like 
those below, on the millions which it has been estimated will be lost to the nation by the 
late expedition to Holland ; and then perhaps, they will be led to reflect on the many millions 
•which are annually expended in expeditions, which have almost invariably ended in abso- 
lute loss. 

In the first plac«, with less money than It cost the nation to take Walcheren, &c., with 
the view of taking or destroying the French fleet at Antwerp, consisting of nine sail of the 
line, we could have completely built and equipped, ready for sea, a fleet of upwards of one 
hundred sail of the line. 

Or, secondly, a new town could be built in every county of England, and each town consist 
Of upwards of 1,000 substantial houses for a less sum. 

Seclion 1,- -Essay 7. 155 

Or, thirdly, it would have been enough to give lOOJ. to 2,000 poor families in every county 
;a lingland and Wales. 

Or, fourthly, it would he more than sufaclent to give a handsome marriage portion to 
iOO.OOO young women, who probably, if they had even less than 501. would not long remain 
nnsolicited to enter the happy state. 

Or, fifthly, a much less sum would enable the legislature to establish a life-boat in every 
port in the United Kingdom, and provide for 10 or 12 men to be kept In constant attendance 
on each; and lOO.OOOZ. could be funded, the interest of which to be applied in premiums to 
those who should prove to be particularly active in saving lives from wrecks, &c., and to 
provide for the widows and children of those men who may accidentally lose their lives in the 
cause of humanity. 

Tills interesting appropriation of 10 millions sterling may lead our readers to think of the 
great good that can be done by only a few millions." 

The exposure of thi-s calculation will require but a few sentences. 
These ten millions were expended, I presume, in arms, artillery, ammu- 
nition, clothing, provision, &c., &c., for about one hundred and twenty 
thousand British subjects : and 1 presume that all these consumables 
were produced by, and purchased from, other British subjects. Now 
during the building of these new towns for a thousand inhabitants each 
in every county, or the distribution of the hundred pound bank notes to 
the two thousand poor families, were« the industrious ship-builders, 
clothiers, charcoal-burners, gunpowder-makers, gunsmiths, cutlers, 
cannon-founder.s, tailors, and shoemakers, to be left unemployed and 
starving ? or our brave soldiers and sailors to have remained without 
food and raiment ? And where is the proof, that these ten millions, 
which (observe) all remain in the kingdom, do not circulate as bene- 
ficially in the one way as they would in the other ? Which is better ? 
To give money to the idle, the houses to those who do not ask for them, 
and towns to counties which have already perhaps too many ? Or to 
afford opportunity to the industrious to earn their bread, and to the en- 
terprisicg to better their circumstances, and perhaps found new families 
of independent proprietors ? The only mode, not absolutely absurd, of 
considering the subject, would be, not by the calculation of the money 
expended, but of the labour of which the money is a symbol. But then 
the question would be removed altogether from the expedition ; for as- 
suredly, neither the armies were raised, nor the fleets built or manned for 
the sake of conquering the Isle of Walcheren, nor would a single regi- 
ment have been disbanded, or a single sloop paid off, though the Isle of 
Walcheren had never existed. The whole dispute, therefore, resolves 
itself to this one question ; whether our soldiers and sailors would not 
be better employed in making canals for instance, or cultivating waste 
lands, than in fighting or in learning to fight ; and the tradesman, &c., 
iu making grey coats instead of red or blue, and ploughshares, &c., in- 
stead of arms. When I reflect on the state of China and the moral 
character of the Chinese, I dare not positively affirm that it wotdd be 
better. When the fifteen millions, which form our present population,- 
shall have attained to the same purity of morals and of primitive Chris-- 

156 ' The Friend. 

tianity, and shall be capable of being governed by the same admiraViIa 
discipline, as the Society of the Friends, I doubt not that we should be 
all Quakers in this as in the other points of their moral doctrine. But 
were this transfer of employment desirable, is it practicable at present, ia 
it in our power ? These men know, that it is not. What then does all 
their reasoning amount to? Nonsense! 


I have not intentionally either hidden or disguised the Truth, like an advocate ashamed of 
His client, or a bribed accountant who falsifies the quotient to make the bankrupt's ledgers 
square with the creditor's inventory. My conscience forbids the use of falsehood and the 
arts of concealment; and were it otherwise, yet I am persuaded, that a system which has 
produced and protected so great prosperity, cannot stand in need of them. If therefore 
honesty and the knowledge of the whole truth be the things you aim at, you will find my 
principles suited to your ends ; and as l^like not the democratic forms, so am I not fond of any 
others above the rest. That a succession of wise and godly men may be secured to the nation 
in the highest power, is that to which I have directed your attention in this essay, which if you 
will read, perhaps you may see the error of those principles which have led you into errors of 
practice. I wrote it purposely for the use of the multitude of well-meaning people, that are 
tempted in these times to usurp authority and meddle with government before they have 
any call from duty or tolerable understanding of its principles. 1 never intended it for 
learned men versed in politics, but for such as will be practitioners before they have been 
students. — Baxter's Holy Commonwealth, or Political Aphorisms. 

THE metaphysical (or as I have proposed to call them, metapolitical) 
reasonings hitherto discussed, belong to government in the abstract. 
But there is a second class of reasoners, whe argue for a change in out 
government from former usage, and from statutes still in forcCj or which 
have been repealed (so these writers affirm), either through a corrupt 
influence, or to ward off temporary hazard or inconvenience. This 
class, which is rendered illustrious by the names of many intelligent 
and virtuous patriots, are advocates for reform in the literal sense of the 
word. They wish to bring back the government of Great Britain to a 
certain form, which they affirm it to have once possessed, and would 
melt the bullion anew in order to recast it in the original mould. 

The answer to all arguments of this nature is obvious, and to my un- 
derstanding appears decisive. These reformers assume the character of 
legislators or of advisers of the legislature, not that of law judges or of 
appellants to courts of law. Sundry statutes concerning the rights of 
electors (we will suppose) still exist ; so likewise do sundry statutes on 
other subjects (on witchcraft for instance) which change of circumstances 
have rendered obsolete, or increased information shown to be absurd. It 
is evident, therefore, that the expediency of the regulations prescribed by 
them, and their suitableness to the existing circumstances of the king- 
dom, must first be proved ; and on this proof must be rested all rational 
claims for the enforcement of the statutes that have not, no less than for 

Section 1. — Essay 8. 167 

ihe re-enacting of those that have been, repealed. If the authority of 
the men, who first enacted the laws in question, is to weigh with us, it 
must be on the presumption that they were wise men. But the wisdom 
of legislation consists in the adaptation of laws to circumstances. If 
then it can be proved, that the circumstances, under which those laws 
w«re enacted, no longer exist ; and that other circumstances altogether 
different, and in some instances opposite, have taken their place ; we 
have the best grounds for supposing, that if the men were now alive, 
they would not pass the same statutes. In other words, the spirit of 
the statute interpreted by the intention of the legislator would annul 
the letter of it. It is not indeed impossible, th-at by a rare felicity of 
accident the same law may apply to two sets of circumstances. But 
surely the presumption is, that regulations well adapted for the manners, 
the social distinctions, and the state of property, of opinion, and of 
external relations of England in the reign of Alfred, or even in that of 
Edward I., will not be well suited to Great Britain at the close of the 
reign of George III. For instance ; at the time when the greater part 
of the cottagers and inferior farmers were in a state of villenage, when 
Sussex alone contained seven thousand, and the Isle of Wight twelve 
hundred families of bondsmen, it was the law of the land that every 
freeman should vote in the assembly of the nation personally or by his 
representative. An act of parliament in the year 1660 confirmed what 
a concurrence of causes had previously effected ; — every Englishman is 
now bom free, the laws of the land are the birth -right of every native, 
and with the exception of a few honorary privileges all classes obey the 
same laws. Now, argues one of our political writers, it being made the 
constitution of t e land by our Saxon ancestors, that every freeman 
should have a vote, and all Englishmen being now bom free, therefore 
by the constitution of the land, every Englishman has now a right to a 
vote. How shall we reply to this without breach of that respect, to 
which the reasonsr at least, if not the reasoning, is entitled ? If it be the 
definition of a pun, that it is the confusion of two different meanings 
under the same or some similar sound, we might almost characterize 
this argument as being grounded on a grave pun. Our ancestors esta- 
blished the right of voting in a particular class of men, forming at that 
time the middle rank of society, and known to be all of them, or almost 
all, legal proprietors — and these were then called the freemen of Eng- 
land : therefore they established it in the lowest classes of society, in 
those who possess no property, because these too are now called by the 
same name! ! Under a similar pretext, grounded on the same precious 
logic, a Mameluke Bey extorted a large contribution from the Egyptian 
Jews : "These books (the Pentateuch) are authentic?" — Yes! "Well, 
the debt then is acknowledged : — and now the receipt, or the money, or 
yom- heads ! The Jews burrowed a large treasure from the Egyptians j 

158 The Friend. 

but you are the Jews, and on you, therefore, I call for the repayment" 
Besides, if a law is to he interpreted by the known intention of its 
makers, the parliament in 1660, which declared all natives of England 
freemen, but neither altered nor meant thereby to alter the limitations of 
the right of election, did to all intents and purposes except that right 
from the common privileges of Englishmen, as Englishmen. 

A moment's reflection may convince us, that every single statute is 
made under the knowledge of all the other laws, with which it is meant 
to co-exist, and by which its action is to be modified and determined. 
In the legislative as in the religious code, the text must not be taken 
•without the context. Now, I think, we may safely leave it to the 
reformers themselves to make choice between the civil and political 
privileges of Englishmen at present, considered as one sum total, and 
those of our ancestors in any former period of our history, considered as 
another, on the old principle, " Take one and leave the other ; but which- 
ever you take, take it all or none." Laws seldom become obsolete as long 
as they are both useful and practicable ; but should there be an excep- 
tion, there is no other way of reviving its validity but by convincing the 
existing legislature of its undiminished practicabiUty and expedience : 
vFhich in all essential points is the same as the recommending of a new 
law. And this leads me to the third class of the advocates of reform, 
those, namely, who leaving ancient statutes to lawyers and historians, 
and universal principles with the demonstrable deductions from them to 
the schools of logic, mathematics, theology, and ethics, rest ail their 
measures, which they wish to see adopted, wholly on their expediency. 
Consequently, they must hold themselves prepared to give such proof 
as the nature of comparative expediency admits, and to bring forward 
such evidence, as experience and the logic of probability can supply, 
that the plans which they recommend for adoption, are : first, prac- 
ticable ; secondly, suited to the existing circumstances ; and lastly, 
necessary or at least requisite, and such as will enable the government 
to accomplish more perfectly the ends for which it was instituted. These 
are the three indispensable conditions of all prudent change, the creden- 
tials with which Wisdom never fails to furnish her public envoys. Who- 
ever brings forward a measure that combines this threefold excellence, 
whether in the cabinet, the senate, or by means of the press, merits em-i 
phatically the title of a patriotic statesman. Neither are they without a 
fair claim to respectful attention as state-counsellors, who fully aware of 
these conditions, and with a due sense of the difficulty of fulfilling them, 
employ their time and talents in making the attempt. An imperfect 
plan is not necessarily a useless plan ; and in a complex enigma the 
greatest ingenuity is not always shown by him who first gives the com- 
plete solution. The dwarf sees farther than the giant, when he has the 
giant' shoulders to mount on. 


Section 1. — Essay 8. 169 

Thus, as perspicuously as I could, I have exposed the erroneous prin- 
ciples of political philosophy, and pointed out the one only ground on 
•which the constitution of governments can be either condenaried or 
justified by wise men. 

If I interpret aright the signs of the times, that branch of politics 
which relates to the necessity and practicability of infusing new life into 
our legislature, as the best means of securing talent and wisdom in the 
cabinet, will shortly occupy the public attention with a paramount 
interest.* I would gladly therefore suggest the proper state of feeling 
and the right preparatory notions with which this disquisition should be 
entered upon ; and I do not know how I can effect this more naturally, 
than by rekting the facts and circumstances which influenced my own 
mind. I can scarcely be accused of egotism, as in the communications 
and conversations which I am about to mention as having occurred to 
me during my residence abroad, I am no otherwise the hero of the tale, 
than as being the passive receiver or auditor. But above all, let it not 
be forgotten, that in the following paragraphs I speak as a Christian 
moralist, not as a statesman. 

To examine anything wisely, two conditions are requisite : first, a 
distinct notion of the desirable ends, in the complete accomplishment of 
which would consist the perfectionof such a thing, or its ideal excellence ; 
and, secondly, a calm and kindly mode of feeling, without which we 
shall hardly fail either to overlook, or not to make due allowances for, 
the circumstances which prevent these ends from being all perfectly 
realized in the particular thing which we are to examine. For instance, 
we must have a general notion what a man can be and ought to be, be- 
fore we can fitly proceed to determine on the merits or demerits of any 
one individual. For the examination of our own government, I pre- 
pared my mind, therefore, by a short catechism, which I shall commu- 
nicate in the next essay, and on which the letter and anecdotes that 
follow, will, I flatter myself, be found an amusing if not an instructive 

* I am in doubt whether the five hundred filment of this prcphecy. I have heard the 

petitions presented at the same time to the echoes of a single c lunderbuss, on one of ou* 

House of Commons by the Member for Cumberland lakes imitate the volley from » 

Tt estminster, are to be considered as a ful- whole regiment. 

160 27^.3 Friend. 


ffoe potissimum pacta felicem ac magnum regem sefore jitdicans : won si quam plurimis 
ted si quam. cptimis imperd,, Froinde parum esse putat justis preesidiis regnum suum 
mvniitse, nisi idem viris erudUione juxta ac vitcB integritate prcecelUntibus ditet atque 
honestet. Mmirum intelligit hcBO demum esse vera regni decora, has veras opes: h/irus 
veram et nvllis unquam scscviis cessuram gloriam. — Erasmi Rot. R. S. Poncherio, Episc. 
Parisien. Eplstola. 

( Translation.)— Judging that he will have employed the most effectual means of being a happy 
and powerful king, not by governing the most numerous but the most moral people. He 
deemed of small sufficiency to have protected the country by fleets and garrison, unless he 
should at the same time enrich and ornament it with men of eminent learning and sanctity. 

IN what do all states agree ? A number of men — exert — powers — in 
union. Wherein do they differ ? 1st. In the quality and quantity of 
the powers. One state possesses chemists, mechanists, mechanics of all 
kinds, men of science ; and the arts of war and peace ; and its citizens 
naturally strong and of habitual courage. Another state may possess 
none or a few only of these, or the same more imperfectly. Or of two 
states possessing the same in equal perfection, the one is more numerous 
than the other, as France and Switzerland. 2nd. In the more or less 
perfect union of these powers. Compare Mr. Leckie's valuable and au- 
thentic documents respecting the state of Sicily with the preceding 
essay on taxation. 3rdly. In the greater or less activity of exertion. 
Think of the ecclesiastical state and its silent metropolis, and then of the 
county of Lancaster and the towns of Manchester and Liverpool. What 
is the condition of powers exerted in union by a number of men ? A 
government. What are the ends of government? They are of two 
kinds, negative and positive. The negative ends of government are the 
protection of life, of personal freedom, of property, of reputation, and of 
religion, from foreign and from domestic attacks. The positive ends are, 
1st. to make the means of subsistence more easy to each individual : 
2nd. that in addition to the necessaries of life he should derive from the 
union and division of labour a share of the comforts and conveniences 
which humanize and ennoble his nature ; and at the same time the 
power of perfecting himself in his own branch of industry by having 
those things which he needs provided for him by othei-s among his fel- 
low-citizens ; including the tools and raw or manufactured materials 
necessary for his own employment. I knew a profound mathematician 
in Sicily, who had devoted a full third of his life to the pertecting the 
discovery of the longitude, and who had convinced not only himself but 
the principal mathematicians of Messina and Palermo that he had suc- 
ceeded ; but neither throughout Sicily or Naples could he find a single 
artist capable of constructing the instrument which he had invented,* 

» The good old man, who is poor, old, and and austerity of his life not legs than for bii 
MLsd, aniversaUy esteemed fur the innocence learning, and yet universally negleclwL ex- 

Section 1. — Egsoy 9. 161 

3rctly. The hope of betteiing liia own condition and that of hitj cbildrei. 
The civilized man gives np those stimulants of hope and fear whici. 
constitute the chief charm of the savage life ; and yet his Maker has dis- 
tinguished him from the brute that perishes, by making hope an instinct 
of his nature and an indispensable condition of his moral and intellectual 
progression. But a natural instinct constitutes a natural right, as iar as 
its gratification is compatible with the equal rights of others. Hence 
our ancestors classed those who were bound to the soil (addicti slebaj), 
and incapable by law of altering their condition from that of their 
parents, as bondsmon or villeins, however advantageously they migh 
otherwise be situated. Reflect on the direful effects of caste in Hindos- 
tan, and then transfer yourself in fancy to an English cottage, — 

"Where o'er the cradled infant bending 
Hope has tised her wishful gaze, 

and the fond mother dreams of her child's future fortunes — who knows 
but he may come home a rich merchant, like such a one ? or be a bishop 
or a judge ? The prizes are indeed few and rare ; but still they are pos- 
sible ; and the hope is universal, and perhaps occasions more happiness 
than even its fulfilment. Lastly, the development of those faculties 
which are essential to his human nature by che knowledge of his moral 
and religious duties, and the increase of his intellectual powers in as 
great a degree as is compatible with the other ends of social union, and 
does not involve a contradiction. The poorest Briton possesses much 
and important knowledge, which he would not have had, if Luther, 
Calvin, Newton, and their compeers, had not existed ; but it is evident 
that the means of science and learning could not exist, if all men had a 
right to be made profound mathematicians or men of extensive erudition, , 
Still instruction is one of the ends of government, for it is that only , 
which makes the abandonment of the savage state an absolute duty ; , 
and that constitution is the best, under which the average sum of useful , 
knowledge is the greatest, and the causes that awaken and encourage 
talent and genius, the most powerful and various. 

These were my preparatory notions. The influences under which 1 
proceeded to re-examine our own constitution were the following, which ■ 
I give, not exactly as they occurred, but in the order in which they will 
be illustrative of the different articles of the preceding paragraph. That 
we are better and happier than others is indeed no reason for our n<?t 
becoming still better- especially as with states, as well as individuals, 

cept by persons almost as poor as himself. The good old man presented me with th« 

itrougly reminded me of a German epigram book iu which he has described and demon- 

on Kepler, which may be thus translated : straied his invention ; and I should with gietU 

No mortal spirit yet had climbed so hlfth pleasure transmit it to any maihematiciaB 

As Kepler— yet his country saw him die wbo would tcel an interest in examiniiig ^■ 

For very v^ant ! the minds alone he fed, and communicating his ojiiiiion on. its merits. 
Ajid so thi bodies left him wiinout bread. 

162 The Friend. 

uot to be progressive is to be retrograde. Yet the comparison will \m 
fully temper the desire of improvement virith love and a sense of grati- 
tude for what we already are. 

I. A Letter received, at Malta, f rem an American officer of high rank 
who has since received the thanks and rewards of Congress for his 
services m the Mediterranean. 
Sir, Grand Caieo, Dec. 13, 1804. 

The same reason, which induced me to request letters of intro- 
duction to his Britannic Majesty's agents here, suggested the propriety of 
showing an English jack at the main top-gallant mast head, on enteriDg 
the port of Alexandria on the 26th ult. The signal was rec(^ized; 

and Mr. B was immediately on board. 

We found in port a Turkish Vice-Admiral, with a ship of the line, 
and six frigates ; a part of which squadron is stationed there to preserve 
the tranquillity of the country ; with just as much influence as the same 
number of pelicans would have on the same station. 

On entering and passing the streets of Alexandria, I could not but 
notice the very marked satisfaction which every expression and every 
countenance of all denominations of people, Turks and Frenchmen only 
excepted, manifested under an impression that we were the avant-cou- 
riers of an English army. They had conceived this from observing the 
English jack at our main, taking our flag perhaps for that of a saint) and 
because, as is common enough everywhere, they were ready to believe 
what they wished. It would have been cruel to have undeceived them ; 
consequently without positively assuming it, we passed in the character 
of Englishmen among the middle and lower orders of society, and as 
their allies among those of better information. Wherever we entered or 
wherever halted, we were surrounded by the wretched inhabitants ; and 
stunned with their benedictions and prayers for blessings on us. "Will 
the English come ? Are they coming ? God grant the EngHsh may 
come ! we have no commerce — we have no money — we have no bread ! 
When will the English arrive !" My answer was uniformly. Patience! 
The same tone was heard at Kosetta as among the Alexandrians, indi- 
cative of the same dispositions; only it was not so loud, because, the 
inhabitants are less miserable, although without any traits of happiness, 
On the fourth we left that village for Cairo, and for our security as well 
as to facilitate our procurement of accommodations during; our voyage, 
as well as our stay there, the resident directed his secretary, Capt, 

V , to accompany us, and to give us lodgings in his house. Wfl 

a.scended the Nile leisurely, and calling at several villages, it was plainly 
jjerCeivable that the national partiality, the strong and open expression 
of which proclaimed so loudly the feelings of the Egyptians of the sea- 

Section 1. — Essay 9. 163 

coast, was general throughout the country ; and the prayers for the 
return of the English as earnest as universal. 

On the morning of the sixth we went on shore at the village of Sabour. 
The villagers expressed an enthusiastic gladness at seeing red and blue 
uniforms and round hats (the French, I believe, wear three-cornered 
ones). Two days before, five hundred Albanian deserters from the 
Viceroy's army had pillaged and left this village ; at which tbey had 
lived at free quarters about four weeks. — The famishing inhabitants 
were now distressed with apprehensions from another quarter. A com- 
pany of wild Arabs were encamped in sight. They dreaded their 
ravages, and apprized us of danger from them. We were eighteen in the 
party, well armed ; and a pretty brisk fire which we raised among the 
numerous flocks of pigeons and other small fowl in the environs, must 
have deterred them from mischief, if, as is most probable, they had me- 
ditated any against us. Scarcely, however, were we on board and under 
weigh, when we saw these mounted marauders of the desert fall furiously 
upon the herds of camels, buifaloes, and cattle of the village, and drive 
many of them off wholly unannoyed on the part of the unresisting in- 
habitants, unless their shrieks could be deemed an annoyance. They 
afterwards attacked and robbed several unarmed boats, which were a 
few hours astern of us. The most insensible must surely have been 
moved by the situation of the peasants of that village. The while wo 
were listening to their complaints they kissed our hands, and with pros- 
trations to the ground, rendered more affecting by the inflamed state of 
the eyes almost universal amongst them, and which the new traveller 
might venially imagine to have been the immediate effect of weeping 
and anguish, they all implored English succour. Their shrieks at the 
assault of the wild Arabs seemed to implore the same still more forcibly, 
while it testified what multiplied reasons they had to implore it. I con- 
fess I felt an almost insurmountable impulse to bring our little party to 
their relief, and might perhaps have done a rash act, had it not been for 
the calm and just observation of Captain V — ■ — , that "these were 
common occurrences, and that any relief which we could afford, would 
not merely be only temporary, but would exasperate the plunderers to 
still more atrocious outrages after our departure." 

On the morning of the seventh we landed near a village. At our ap- 
proach the villagers fled : signals of friendship brought some of them to 
us. When they were told that we were Englishmen, they flocked 
around us with demonstrations of joy, ofi"ered their services, and raised 
loud ejaculations for our establishment in the country. Here we could 
not procure a pint of mil>- for our coffee. The inhabitants had been 
plundered and chased from their habitations by the Albanians and 
Desert Arabs, and it was but the preceding day they had returned tc 
their naked cottages. 

iH Tlie Fi-Iend. \ 

(irand Cairo diffevs' from the places already passed, ^mly aa the preJ 
sence of the tyrant stamps silence on the lips of misery with the seal oi 
terror. Wretchedness here assumes the form of melancholy ; but the 
few whispers that are hazarded, convey the same feelings and the same 
wishes. And wherein does this misery and consequent spirit of revo- 
lution consist? Not in any form of government, but in a formless des« 
potism, an anarchy indeed ! for it amounts literally to an annihilation 
of everything that can merit the name of government or justify the 
use of the word even in the laxest sense. Egypt is under the most 
frightful despotism, yet has no master! The Turkish soldiery, r& 
strained by no discipline, seize everything by violence, not only all 
that their necessities dictate, but whatever their caprices suggest. The 
Mamelukes, who dispute with these the right of domination, procure 
themselves subsistence by means as lawless though less insupportably 
oppressive. And the wild Arabs, availing themselves of the occasion, 
plunder the defenceless wherever they find plunder. To finish 
whole, the talons of the Viceroy fix on everything which can he 
Ranged into currency, in order to find the means of supporting an uii' 
governed, disorganized banditti of foreign troops, who receive the har- 
vest of his oppression, desert and betray him. Of all this rapine, roh- 
bery, and extortion, the wretched cultivators of the soil are the perpetual 
victims. A spirit of revolution is the natural consequence. 

The reason the inhabitants of this country give for preferring the 
English to the French, whether true or false, is as natural as it 
simple, and as influential as natural. " The English," say they, " pay 
for everything — the French pay nothing, and take everything." They 
do not like this kind of deliverers. 

Well, thought I, after the penisal of this letter, the slave trade (which 
had not then been abolished) is a dreadful crime, an English iniquity ; 
and to sanction its continuance under full conviction and parliamentary 
confession of its injustice and inhumanity, is, if possible, still blacker 
guilt. Would that our discontents were for a while confined to our 
moral wants ! whatever may be the defects of our constitution, we have 
at least an effective government, and that too composed of men who 
were bom with us and are to die among us. We are at least preserved 
from the incursions of foreign enemies ; the intercommunion of inte- 
rests precludes a civil war, and the voluateer spirit of the nation 
equally with its laws, gives to the darkest lanes of our crowded metro- 
polis that quiet and security which the remotest villager at the cata 
ptcts of the Nile prays for in vain, in his mud hovel ! 

Not yet enslaved nor wholly vUe, 
O Albion, my mother isle ! 
Thy valleys fair, as Eden's bowerg, 
Glitter green with euuny showers j 

section 1. — Essay 9. 105 

Thy grassy uplands' gentle swells ■ 
Echo to :he bleat of flocks ; 
(Those grassy hills, those glittering dells 
Proudly ramparted with roiks). 
And ocean mid his uproar wild 
Speaks safety to his island child. 
Hence for many a fearless age 
Has social quiet loved thy shore ; 
Nor ever sworded warrior's rage 
Or sacked thy towers or stained thy fields with gore. 

Coleeidge's Ode to The Departing Tear. 

II. Anecdote of Buona]^arte. 
Buonaparte, during his short stay at Malta, called out the Maltese 
regiments raised by the Knights, amounting to fifteen hundred of the 
stoutest young men of the islands. As they were drawn up on the 
parade, he informed them, in a bombastic harangue, that he had re- 
stored them to liberty ; but in proof that his attachment to them was 
not bounded by this benefaction, he would now give them an opportu- 
nitj'^ of adding glory to freedom — and concluding by asking who of them 
would march forward to be his fellow-soldiers on the banks of the Nile, 
and contribute a flower of Maltese heroism to the immortal wreaths of 
fame with which he meant to crown the Pyramids of Egypt ! Not a 
man stirred : all gave a silent refusal. They were instantly surrounded 
by a regiment of French soldiers, marched to the Marino, forced on 
board the transports, and threatened with death if any one of them at- 
tempted his escape, or should be discovered in any part of the islands 
of Malta or Gozo. At Alexandria they were always put in the front, 
both to save the French soldiery, and to prevent their running away : 
and of the whole number, fifty only survived to revisit their native 
country. From one of these survivors I first learnt this fact, which 
was afterwards confirmed to me by several of his remaining comrades, 
as well as by the most respectable inhabitants of Valetta. 

This anecdote recalled to my mind an accidental conversation with 
\n old countryman in a central district of Germany. I purposely omit 
."lames because the day of retribution has come and gone by. I was 
looking at a strong fortress in the distance, which formed a highly inte- 
resting object in a rich and varied landscape, and asked the old man 
who had stopped to gaze at me, its name, &c., adding, " How beautiful 
it looks !" " It may be well enough to look at," answered he, "but God 
keep all Christians from being taken thither !" He then proceeded to 
gratify the curiosity which he had thus excited, by informing ue that 

the Baron had been taken out of his bed at midnight and carried 

to that fortress— that he was not heard of for nearly two years, when a 
soldier who had fled, over the boundaries sent information to his family 
of the place and m.tde of his imprisonment. As I have no design to 

166 The Friend. 

work on the feelings of my readers, 1 pass over the yhocking detail : 
had not the language and countenance of my informant precluded such 
a suspicion, I might have supposed that be had been repeating some tale 
of horror from a romance of the dark ages. " What was his crime ?" I 
asked. " The report is," «aid the old man, " that in his capacity as minister 

he had remonstrated with the concerning the extravagance of his 

mistress, an outlandish countess : and that she in revenge persuaded 
the sovereign, that it was the Baron who had communicated to a pro- 
fessor at Gottingen the particulars of the infamous sale of some thou- 
sand of his subjects as soldiers." On the same day I discovered in the 
landlord of a small public-house one of the men who had been thus sold. 
He seemed highly dehghted in entertaining an English gentleman, and 
in once more talking English after a lapse of so many years. He was 
far from regretting this incident in his life ; but his account of the 
manner in which they were forced away accorded in so many particu- 
lars with Schiller's impassioned description of the same, or a similar 
scene, in his tragedy of Cabal and Love, as to leave a perfect conviction 
on my mind, that the dramatic pathos of that description was not 
greater than its historic fidelity. 

As I was thus reflecting, I glanced my eye on the leading paragraph 
of a London newspaper, containing much angry declamation, and some 
bitter truths, respecting our military arrangements. It were in vairi, 
thought I, to deny that the influence of parliamentary interest, which 
prevents the immense patronage of the crown from becoming a despotic 
power, is not the most likely to secure the ablest commanders or the 
fittest persons for the management of our foreign empire. However, 
thank Heaven ! if we fight, we fight for our own King and country ; and 
grievances which may be publicly complained of, there is some chance 
of seeing remedied. 

HI. A celebrated professor in a German University showed me a 
very pleasing print, entitled " Toleration." A Catholic priest, a Luthe- 
ran divine, a Calvinist minister, a Quaker, a Jew, and a philosopher, 
Avere represented sitting round the same table, over which a winged 
figure hovered in the attitude of protection. "For this harmless print," 
said my friend, " the artist was imprisoned, and having attempted to 
escape, was sentenced to draw the boats on the banks of the Danube, 
^ith robbers and murderers ; and there died in less than two months, 
from exhaustion and exposure. In your happy country, sir, this print 
would be considered as a pleasing scene from real life ; for in every 
great town throughout your empire you may meet with the original." 
* "Yes," I replied, " as far as the negative ends of government are concerned, 
we have no reason to complain. Our government protects us fromj 
foreign enemies, and our laws secure our lives, our personal freedoi 

Section l.—Essay 9. 167 

our proijerty, reputation, and religious rights, from domestic attacks. 
Our taies, indeed, are enormous." "Oh ! talk not of taxes," said my 
friend, " till you have resided in a country where the boor disposes of 
his produce to strangers for a foreign mart, not to bring back to his 
family the comforts and conveniences of foreign manufactures, hut to 
procure that coin which his lord is to squander away in a distant land. 
Neither can I with patience hear it said, that your laws act only to the 
negative ends of government. They have a manifold positive influ- 
ence, and their incorrupt administration gives a colour to all your 
modes of thinking, and is one of the chief causes of your superior mora- 
lity iu private as well as pubhc life."* 

My limits compel me to strike out the different incidents which I had 
written as a commentary on the former three of the positive ends of 
government. To the moral feelings of my readers they might have 
been serviceable, bu,t for their understandings they are superfluous. It 
is surely impossible to peruse them, and not admit that all three are 
realized under our government to a degree imexampled in any other 
old and long-peopled country. The defects of our constitution (in 
which word I include the laws and customs of the land as well as its 
scheme of legislative and executive power) must exist, therefore, in the 
fourth, namely, the production of the highest average of general infor- 
mation, of general moral and religious principles, and the excitements 
and opportunities which it affords to paramount genius and heroic 
power in a sufficient number of its citizens. These are points in which 
it would be immorality to rest content with the presumption, however 
well founded, that we are better than others, if we are not what v/e 
ought to be ourselves, and not using the means of improvement. The 
first question then is, .What is the fact ? The second, supposing a defect 
or deficiency in one or all of these points, and that to a degree which 
may affect our power and prosperity, if not our absolute safety. Are the 
pLins of legislative reform that have hitherto been proposed fit or likely 
to remove such defect, and supply such deficiency ? The third and last 
question is — Should there appear reason to deny or doubt this, are there 
then any other means, and what are they ? Of these points in the 
concluding essay of this section. 

♦ " The administration of Justice through- has no means of conciliating favour, either 

out the continent is partial, venal, and in- by the beauty of a handsome wife, or by 

fiunous. 1 have, in conversation with many other methods." This quotation is ccaifined 

sensible men, met with something of content in the original lo France under the monarchy ; 

with their governments in all other respects I have extended the application, and adopted 

than this ; but upon the question of expect- the words as comprising the result of my 

ing justice to be really and fairly administered own experience : and 1 take this opportunity 

every one confessed there was no such thing of declaring, that the most important parta 

to be looked for. The conduct of the judges of Mr. Leckie's statement concerning Sicily I 

. is profligate and atrocious. Upon almost myself know to be accurate, and am author- 

every cause that comes before them interest ized by wliat 1 myself saw there, to rely on 

i« iipenly made with the judges ; and wo« the whole as a fair and unexugg:r«t«l rtpre- 

betiofi the man, who, with a cause tc siipporU bentation. 

1C8 His Friend. 

A French gentleman in the reign of Louis XTV., was comparing 
the French and English writers with all the boastfulness of national 
prepossession. " Sir ! (replied an EngUshman better versed in the pnn- 
ciples of freedom than the canons of criticism) there are but two sub- 
jects worthy the human intellect, politics and religion, our state here 
and our state hereafter ; and on neither of these dare you write." Long 
may the envied privilege be preserved to my countrymen of writing 
and talking concerning both ! Nevertheless, it behoves us all to consider 
that to write or talk concerning any subject, without having previously 
taken the pains to understand it, is a breach of duty which we owe to 
ourselves, though it may be no offence against the laws of the land. 
The privilege of talking and even publishing nonsense is necessary in a 
free state, but the more sparingly we make use of it the better. 


Then we may thank ourselves, 
Who spell-bound by the magic name of peace 
Dream golden dreams. Go, warlike Britain, go. 
For the grey olive-branch change thy green laurels : 
Hang up thy rusty helmet, that the bee 
May have a hive, or spider find a loom ! 
Instead of doubling drum and thrilling fife 
Be lulled in lady's lap with amorous flutes. 
But for Napoleon, know, he'U scorn this calm : 
The ruddy planet at his birth bore sway. 
Sanguine, a dust his humour, and wild fire 
His ruling element. Eage, revenge, and cunning 
Make up the temper of this captain's valour. 

Adapted from an old Flay. 

LITTLE prospective wisdom can that man obtain, who hurrymg onward 
with the current, or rather torrent, of events, feels no interest in their 
importance, except as far as his curiosity is excited by their novelty, 
and to whom all reflection and retrospect are wearisome. If ever there 
were a tinae when the formation of just public principles becomes a duty 
of private morality ; when the principles of morality in general ought to 
be made to bear on our public suffrages, and to affect every great national 
determination ; when, in short, his country should have a place by every 
Englishman's fireside ; and when the feelings and truths which (^iva 
dignity to the fireside and tranquillity to the death-bed, ouo^ht to be 
present and influensive in the cabinet and iu the senate — that time is 
now with us. As an introduction to, and at the same time as a com- 
mentary on, the subject of international law, I have taken a review of 
the circumstances that led to the treaty of Amiens, and the re-commence- 
ment of the war, more especially with regard to the occupation ol 


Section 1. — Essay 10. 169 

In a rich commercial state, a war seldom fails to become unpopular by 
length of continuance. The first, or revolution war, which, towards its 
close, had become just and necessary, perhaps beyond any former 
example, had yet causes of unpopularity peculiar to itself : exhaiistion is 
the natural consequence of excessive stimulation, in the feelings of nations 
equally as in those of individuals. Wearied out by overwhelming 
novelties ; stunned, as it were, by a series of strange explosions ; sick 
too of hope long delayed ; and uncertain as to the real object and motive 
of the war, from the rapid change an;i general failure of its ostensible 
objects and motives ; the public mind for many months preceding the 
signing of the preliminaries, had lost all its tone and elasticity. The 
consciousness of mutual errors and mutual disappointments disposed the 
great majority of all parties to a spirit of diffidence and toleration, which, 
amiable as it may be in individuals, yet in a nation, and above all in an 
opulent and luxurious nation, is always too nearly akin to apathy and 
selfish indulgence. An unmanly impatience for peace became only not 
universal. After as long a resistance as the nature of our constitution 
and national character permitted or even endured, the government applied 
at length the only remedy adequate to the greatness of the evil, a remedy 
which the magnitude of the evil justified, and which nothing but an 
evil of fhat magnitude could justify. At a high price they purchased for 
us the name of peace, at a time when the views of France became daily 
more and more incompatible with our vital interests. Considering the 
peace as a mere truce of experiment, wise and temperate men regarded 
with complacency the treaty of Amiens, for the very reasons that would 
have insured the condemnation of any other treaty under any other cir- 
cumstances. Its palpable deficiencies were its antidote ; or rather they 
formed its very essence, and declared at first sight what alone it was, 
or was meant to be. Any attempt at that time and in this treaty to 
have secured Italy, Holland, and the German empire, would have been, 
in the literal sense of the word, preposterous. The nation would have 
withdrawn all faith in the pacific intentions of the ministers, if the ne- 
gotiation had been broken off on a plea of this kind ; for it had taken for 
granted the extreme desirableness, nay, the necessity of a peace, and, this 
once admitted, there would, no doubt, have been an absurdity in con- 
tinuing the war for objects which the war furnished no means of realizing. 
If the First Consul had entered into stipulations with us respecting the 
continent, they would have been observed only as long as his interest from 
other causes might have dictated ; they would have been signed with as 
much sincerity, and observed with as much good faith, as the article actu- 
ally inserted in the treaty of Amiens respecting the integrity of the Turkish 
empire. This article indeed was wisely insisted on by us, because it afiected 
both our national honour, and the interests of our Indian empire imme- 
diately ; and still more, perhaps, because this of all oth&:e was the most 

170 The Friend. 

likely to furnish an early proof of the First Consul's real dispositions. But 
deeply interested in the fate of the continent as we are thought to be, it 
would nevertheless have been most idle to have abandoned a peace, suppos- 
ing it at all desirable, on the ground that the French government had re- 
fused that which would have been of no value had it been granted. 

Indeed there results one serious disadvantage from insisting on the 
rights and interests of Austria, the Empire, Switzerland, &c. in a treaty 
between England and France ; and, as it should seem, no advantage to 
counterbalance it. For so, any attack on those rights instantly pledges 
our character and national dignity to commence a war, however inexpe- 
dient it might happen to be, and however hopeless ; while if a war were 
expedient, any attack on these countries by France furnishes a justifiable 
cause of war in its essential nature, and independently of all positive 
treaty. Seen in this light, the defects of the treaty of Amiens become 
its real merits. If the government of France made peace in the spirit of 
peace, then a friendly intercourse and the humanizing influences of com- 
merce and reciprocal hospitality would gradually bring about in both 
countries the dispositions necessary for the calm discussion and sincere 
conclusion af a genuine, efficient, and comprehensive treaty. If the 
contrary proved the fact, the treaty of Amiens contained in itself the 
principles of its own dissolution. It was what it ought to be. If the 
First Consul had both meant and dealt fairly by us, the treaty would 
have led to a true settlement; but he acting as all prudent men expected 
that he would act, it supplied just reasons for the commencement of war 
—and at its decease left us, as a legacy, blessings that assuredly far out- 
weighed our losses by the peace. It left us popular enthusiasm, national 
unanimity, and simplicity of object ; and removed one inconvenience 
which cleaved to the last war, by attaching to the right objects, and 
enlisting under their proper banners, the scorn and hatred of slavery, the 
passion for freedom, all the high thouijhts and high feelings that connect 
us with the honoured names of past ages ; and inspire sentiments and 
language, to which our Hampdens, Sidneys, and Eussells, might listen 
without jealousy. 

The late peace then was negotiated by the government, ratified by the 
legislature, and received by the nation, as an experiment ; as the only 
means of exhibiting such proof as would be satisfactory to the people in 
their then temper; whether Buonaparte devoting his ambition and 
activity to the re-establishment of trade, colonial tranquillity, and social 
morals, in France, would abstain from insulting, alarming and endanger- 
ing the British empire. And these thanks at least were due to the First 
Consul, that he did not long delay the proof. With more than papal 
insolence he issued edicts of anathema against us, and excommunicatetl 
na from all interference in the affairs of the continent. He insulted uh 
still more indecently by pertinacious demands respecting our constitutionaJ 

{Section 1. — Essay 10. 17i 

biws and rights of hospitality ; by the official publinativ)n of Sebastiani's 
report; and by a direct personal outrage offered in the presence of all the 
foreign ministers to the King, in the person of his ambassador. He both 
insulted and alarmed us by a display of the most perfidious ambition in 
the subversion of the independence of Switzerland, in the avowal cf 
designs against Egypt, Syria, and the Greek Islands, and in the mission 
of military spies to Great Britain itself. And by forcibly maintaining a 
French army in Holland, he at once insulted, alarmed, and endangered 
us. What can render a war just (presupposing its expedience) if insult, 
repeated alarm, and danger do not ? And how can it be expedient for a 
rich, united, and powerful island-empire to remain in nominal peace and 
unresenbing passiveness with an insolent neighbour, who has proved that 
to wage against it an unmitigated war of insult, alarm, and endangerment 
is both his temper and his system ? 

Many attempts were made by Mr. Fox to explain away the force of 
the greater number of the facts here enumerated ; but the great fact, for 
which alone they have either force or meaning, the great ultimate fact, 
that Great Britain had been insulted, alarmed, and endangered by France, 
Mr. Fox himself expressly admitted. But the opposers of the present 
war concentre the strength of their cause in the following brief argument. 
Supposing, say they, the grievances set forth in our manifesto to be as 
notorious as they are asserted to be, yet more notorious they cannot be 
than that other fact which utterly annuls them as reasons for a war^ 
the fact, that ministers themselves regard them only as the pompous 
garnish of the dish. It stands on record, that Buonaparte might have 
purchased our silence for ever, respecting these insults and injuries, by a 
mere acquiescence on his part in our retention of Malta. The whole 
treaty of Amiens is little more than a perplexed bond of compromise 
respecting Malta. On Malta we rested the peace : for Malta we renewed 
the war. So say the opposers of the present war. As its advocates we 
do not deny the fact as stated by them ; but we hope to achieve all, and 
more than all the purposes of such denial, by an explanation of the fact^ 
The difficulty then resolves itself into two questions : first, in what sense 
of the words can we be said to have gone to war for Malta alone? 
Secondly, wherein does the importance of Malta consist ? The answer 
to the second will be found towards the end of the volume,* in the life ol 
the liberator and political father of the Maltese (Sir Alexander Ball) 
while the attempt to settle the first question, and at the same time to 
elucidate the law of nations and its identity with the law of conscience, 
will occupy the remainder of the present essay. 

• See Essays 3. 4, 5, 6, « the Third Landing-Place, 

172 The Friend. 


1. Jn what sense can we he affirmed to have renewed the war /or 
Malta aione f 

It" we had known, or could reasonably have believed, that the views oi 
France were and would continue to be frienidly or negative toward Gieat 
Britain, neither the subversion of the independence of Switzerland, nor 
the maintenance of a French army in Holland, would have furnished 
any prudent ground for war. For the only way by which we could 
have injured France, namely, the destruction of her commerce and navy^ 
would increase her means of continental conquests, by concentrating all 
the resources and energies of the French empire in her military powers ; 
while the losses and miseries which the French people would suffer in 
consequence, and their magnitude, compared with any advantages t'lat 
might accrue to them from the extension of the name France, were facts 
which, we knew by experience, would weigh as nothing with the exist- 
ing government. Its attacks on the independence of its continental 
neighbours became motives to us for the recommencement of hostility, 
only as far as they gave proofs of a hostile intention toward ourselves, 
and facihtated the realizing of such intention. If any events had taken 
place, increasing the means of injuring this country, even though these 
events furnished no moral ground of complaint against France, (such for 
instance, might be the great extension of her population and revenue, 
from freedom and a wise government,) much more, if they were the 
fruits of iniquitous ambition, and therefore in themselves involved the 
probability of an hostile intention to us — then, I say, every after occur- 
rence becomes important, and both a just and expedient ground of war, 
in proportion, not to the importance of the thing in itself, but to the 
quantity of evident proof afforded by it of an hostile design in the 
government, by whose power our interests are endangered. If by de- 
manding the immediate evacuation of Malta, when he had himself done 
away the security of its actual independence (on his promise of pre- 
serving which our pacific promises rested as on their sole foundation), and 
this too, after he had openly avowed such designs on Egypt, as not only 
in the opinion of our ministers, but in his own opinion, made it of the 
greatest importance to this country, that Malta should not be under 
French influence ; if by this conduct the First Consul exhibited a de- 
cisive proof of his intention to violate our rights and to undermine our 
national interests ; then all his preceding actions on the continent became 
proofs likewise of the same intention ; and any one * of these aggressions 

• A hundred cases migbt be imagined enumerated In a specific statute. Calus, by a 
wlilch would place tiiis assertion ia its true series of vioious actions, has so nearly con- 
light. Suppose, for instance, a country ac- vinced his father of his utter worthlessnesa^ 
cording to the laws of which a parent might that the father resolves on the next provoca- 
not disinherit a son without having first con- tion to use 4he very first opportunity oi 
Ticted him of some one of sundry crime* legally disinht titing this son. The provoca 

Section 1, — Essay 10. I73 

involves the meaning of the whole. Which of them is to ieternvine us 
to war must be decided by other and prudential considerations. Had 
the First Consul acquiesced in our detention of Malta, he would thereby 
have furnished such proof of pacific intentions as would have led to 
further hopes, as would have lessened our alarm from his former acts 
of ambition, and relatively to us have altered in some degree their 

It should never be forgotten, that a parliament or national council is 
essentially different from a court of justice, alike in its objects and its 
duties. In the latter, the juror lays aside his private knowledge and 
his private connections, and judges exclusively according to the evidence 
adduced in the court ; in the former, the senator acts upon his own in- 
ternal convictions, and oftentimes upon private information, which it 
would be imprudent or criminal to disclose. Though his ostensible 
reason ought to be a true and just one, it is by no means necessary that 
it should be his sole or even his chief reason. In a court of justice, the 
juror attends to the character and general intentions of the accused party 
exclusively, as adding to the jjrobability of his having or not having 
committed the one particular action then in question. The senator, oi;i 
the contrary, when he is to determine on the conduct of a foreign power, 
attends to particular actions, chiefly in proof of character and existing 
intentions. Now there were many and very powerful reasons why, 
though appealing to the former actions of Buonaparte, as confirmations 
of his hostile spirit and alarming ambition, we should nevertheless make 
Malta the direct object and final determinant of the war. Had we gone 
to war avowedly for the independence of Holland and Switzerland, we 
should have furnished Buonaparte with a colourable pretext for annex- 
ing both countries immediately to the French empire,* which, if he 
should do (as if his power continues he most assuredly will sooner ox 
later) by a mere act of violence and undisguised tyranny, there will 
follow a moral weakening of his power in the minds of men, which may 
prove of incalculable advantage to the independence and well-being of 
Europe ; but which, unfortunately, for this very reason, that it is not 
to be calculated, is too often disregarded by ordinary statesmen. At all 

tioD occurs, and in itself furnishes this oppor- injuries which I have suffered, as for the di^ 
tunity, and Caius is disinherited, though for positions which these actions evinced ; for 
an action much less glaring and intolerable the insolent and alarming intentions of which 
than most of his preceding delinquencies had they are proofs. Now of this habitual tem- 
been. The advocates of Calus complain that per, of these dangerous purposes, his last 
he should be thus punished for a comparative action is as true and complete a manifestation 
trifle, so many worse misdemeanours having as any or aU of his preceding offences ; and 
been passed over. The father replies : "This, it therefore may and must be taken as their 
his last action, is not the cause of the disin- common representative." 
neritance ; but the means of disinheriting * This disquisition was written in the year 
him. I punished him by it rather than for 1304, in Malta, at the request of Sir Alex- 
it. In truth, it wa* not for any of his ander Ball [with the exception of the latter 
dtHJons that I havs [hu< punished him, but paragraphs, which I have therefore included 
for his vIclS ; Ihat is. nut so much for tba in crotchetsj. 

174 n« Friend. 

events, it would have been made the plea for banishing, plundering, and 
perhaps murdering numbers of virtuous and patriotic individuals, as 
being the partizans of " the enemy of the continent." Add to this, that 
we should have appeared to have rushed into a war for objects which by 
war we could not hope to realize ; we should have exacerbated the mis- 
fortunes of the countries of which we had elected ourselves the cham- 
pions ; and the war would have appeared a mere war of revenge and 
reprisal, a circumstance always to be avoided where it is possible. The 
ablest and best men in the Batavian republic, those who felt the insults 
of France most acutely, and were suffering from her oppressions the 
most severely, entreated our government, through their minister, that it 
would not make the state of Holland the great ostensible reason of the 
war. The Swiss patriots too believed, that we could do nothing to assist 
them at that time, and attributed to our forbearance the comparatively 
timid use which France has made hitherto of her absolute power over 
that country. Besides Austria, whom the changes on the continent 
much more nearly concerned than England, having refused all co-opera- 
tion with us, there is reason to fear that an opinion (destructive of the 
one great blessing purchased by the peace, our national unanimity) 
would have taken root in the popular mind, that these changes were 
mere pretexts. Neither should we forget, that the last war had left a 
dislike in our countrymen to continental interference, and a not un- 
plausible persuasion, that where a nation has not sufficient sensibility as 
to its wrongs to commence a war against the aggressor, unbribed and un,- 
goaded by Great Britain, a war begun by the government of such a 
nation, at the instance of our government, has little chance of other 
than a disastrous result, considering the character and revolutionary 
resources of the enemy. Whatever may be the strength or weakness of 
this argument, it is however certain, that there was a strong predilection 
in the British people for a cause indisputably and peculiarly British. 
And this feeling is not altogether ungrounded. In practical politics and 
the great expenditures of national power, we must not pretend to be too 
far-sighted : otherwise even a transient peace would be impossible 
among the European nations. To future and distant evils we may 
always oppose the various unforeseen events that are ripening in the 
womb of the future. Lastly, it is chiefly to immediate and imequivocal 
attacks on our own interests and honour, that we attach the notion of 
right with a full and efficient feeling. Now, though we may be first 
stimulated to action by probabilities and prospects of advantage, and 
though there is a perverse restlessness in human nature, which renders 
almost all wars popular at their commencement, yet a nation always 
needs a sense of positive right to steady its spirit. There is always 
needed some one reason, short, simple, and independent of complicated 
calculation, in order to give a sort ot muscular strength to the public 


Section 1. — IJsaay 10. 176 

mind, when the power that results from enthusiasm, animal spirits, and 
the charm of novelty, has evaporated. 

There is no feeling more honourable to our nature, and few that strike 
deei^er root when our nature is happily circumstanced, than the jealousy 
concerning a positive right, independent of an immediate interest. To 
surrender, in our national character, the merest trifle that is strictly our 
••ight, the merest rock on which the waves will scarcely permit the sea- 
fowl to lay its eggs, at the demand of an insolent and powerful rival, on 
a shopkeeper's calculation of loss and gain, is in its final, and assuredly 
not very distant consequences, a loss of everything — of national spirit, 
of national independence, and with these, of the very wealth for which 
the low calculation was made. This feeling in individuals, indeed, and 
in private life, is to he sacrificed to religion. Say rather, that by reli- 
gion it is transmuted into a higher virtue, growing on a higher and en- 
grafted branch, yet nourished from the same root ; that it remains in its 
essence the same spirit, but 

Hade pure by thought, and naturalized in heaven ; 

and he who cannot perceive the moral differences of national and indi- 
vidual duties, comprehends neither the one or the other, and is not a 
whit the better Christian for being a bad patriot. Considered nationally, 
it is as if the captain of a man-of-war should strike and surrender his 
colours under the pretence, that it would be folly to risk the lives of so 
many good Christian sailors for the sake of a few yards of coarse canvas ! 
Of such reasoners we take an indignant leave in the words of an obscure 
poet: — 

Fear never wanted arguments : you do 
Reason yourselves into a careful bondage, 
Circumspect only to your misery. 
I could urge freedom, charters, country, laws, 
Gods, and religion, and such precious names — 
Nay, what you value higher, wealth I But that 
You sue for bondage, yielding to demands 
As impious as they're insolent, and have 
Only this sluggish aim— to perish full ! 


And here we find it necessary to animadvert on a principle asserted 
by Lord Minto (in his speech, June 6th, 1803, and afterwards published 
at full length), that France had an undoubted right to insist on cmr 
abandonment of Malta, a right not given, but likewise not abrogated, by 
the treaty of Amiens. Surely in this efibrt of candour, his Lordship 
must have forgotten the circumstances on which he exerted it. The 
case is simply thus : the British government was convinced, and the 
French government admitted the justice of the conviction, that it was of 
the utmost importance to our intereet.i tiiat Malta should remain unin- 
fluenced by France. The French governmeut binds itself down by 4 

176 TJie Friend. 

solemn t eaty, that it will use its best endeavours in conjunction with 
Uft, to sei.uve this independence. This promise was no act of liberality, 
uo generous, free gift on the part of France — No ! we purchased it at a 
high price. We disbanded our forces, we dismissed our sailors, and we 
gave up the best part of the fruits of our naval victories. Can it there- 
fore with a shadow of plausibility be affirmed, that the right to insist 
on our evacuation of the island was unaltered by the treaty of Amiens, 
when this demand is strictly tantamount to our surrender of all the ad- 
vantages which we had bought of France at so high a price ? Tanta- 
mount to a direct breach on her part, not merely of a solemn treaty, but 
of an absolute bargain ? It was not only the perfidy of unprincipled 
ambition — the demand was the fraudulent trick of a sharper. For what 
did France ? She sold us the independence of Malta ; then exerted her 
power, and annihilated the very possibility of that independence ; and 
lastly, demanded of us that we should leave it bound hand and foot for 
her to seize without trouble, -whenever her ambitious projects led her to 
regard such seizure as expedient. We bound ourselves to surrender it 
to the Knights of Malta — not surely to Joseph, Eobert, or Nicolas, but 
to a knonrn order, clothed with certain powers, and capable of exerting 
them in consequence of certain revenues. We found no such order. 
The men indeed and the name we found; and even so, if we had pur- 
chased Sardinia of its sovereign for so many millions of money, which 
through our national credit, and from the equivalence of our national 
paper to gold and silver, he had agreed to receive in bank notes, and if he 
had received them, doubtless, he would have the bank notes, even 
though immediately after our payment of them we had for this very 
purpose forced the Bank company to break. But would he have received 
the debt due to him ? It is nothing more or less than a practical pnn, 
as wicked though not quite so ludicrous, as the (in all senses) execrable 
pun of Earl Godwin, who requesting basium (i. e. a kiss) from the 
archbishop, thereupon seized on the archbishop's manor of Baseham. 

A treaty is a writ of mutual promise between two independent states, 
and the law of promise is the same to nations as to individuals. It is to 
be sacre-dly performed by each party in that sense in which it knew and 
liermitted the other party to understand it, at the time of the contract. 
Anything short of this is criminal deceit in individuals, and in govern- 
ments impious perfidy. After the conduct of France in the affair of 
the guarantees, and of the revenues of the order, we had the same right 
to preserve the island independent of France by a British garrison, an a 
.awful creditor has to the household goods of a fugitive and dishonest 

One other assertion of his Lordship's, in the same speech, bears so 
immediately on the plan of The Friend, as far as it proposed to investi- 
gate the principle of international, no less than of private moi-ality, that 

Section 1.— Essay 10. 177' 

[ foel myself in some degree under an obligation to notice it. A treatjr 
(says his Lordship) ought to be strictly observed by a nation in its 
Utei-al sense, even though the utter ruin of that nation should be the 
certain and foreknown consequence of that observance. Previous to 
any remarks of my own on this high flight of diplomatic virtue, we will 
hear what Harrington has said on this subject. " A man may devote 
himself to death or destruction tu save a nation ; but no nation will 
devote itself to death or destruction to save mankind. Machiavel is 
decried for saying, ' that no consideration is to be had of what is just or 
unjust, of what is merciful or cruel, of what is honourable or ignomi- 
nious, in case it be to save a state or to preserve liberty :' which as to the 
manner of expression may perhaps be crudely spoken. But to imagine 
that a nation will devote itself to death or destruction any more after 
faith given, or an engagement thereto tending, than if there had been 

no engagement made or faith given, were not piety but folly." 

Crudely spoken indeed ! and not less crudely thought : nor is the matter 
much mended by the commentator. Yet every man, who is at all 
acquainted with .the world and its past history, knows that the fact.^ 
itself is truly stated ; and what is more important in the present argu- 
ment, he cannot find in his heart a full, deep, and downright verdict 
that it should be otherwise. The consequences of this perplexity in the 
moral feelings are not seldom extensively injurious. For men hearing 
the duties which would be binding on two individuals living under the 
same laws, insisted on as equally obligatory on two independent states, 
in extreme cases, where they see clearly the impracticability of realizing 
such a notion ; and having at the same time a dim half-consciousness, 
that two states can never be placed exactly on the same ground as two 
individuals ; relieve themselves from their perplexity by cutting what 
they cannot untie, and assert that national policy cannot in all cases be 
subordinated to the laws of morality : in other words, that a govern- 
ment may act with injustice, and yet remain blameless. This assertion 
was hazarded (I record it with unfoigned regret) by a minister of state, 
on the affair of Copenhagen. Tremendous assertion ! that would render 
every complaint which we make of the abominations of the French 
tyrant, hypocrisy, or mere incendiary declamation for the simple-headed 
multitude ! But, thank Heaven ! it is as unnecessary and unfounded as 
it is tremendous. For what is a treaty ? a voluntary contract between. 
two nations. So we will state it in the first instance. Now it is an 
impossible case, that any nation can be supposed by any other to have 
intended its own absolute destruction in a treaty, which its interests 
alone could have prompted it to make. The very thought is self-con- 
tradictory. Not only Athens (we will say) could not have intended 
this (o have been understood in any specific promise made to Spart^i; 
1)ut Sparta could never have imagined that Athens had so ntended it 

178 The Friend. 

And Athens itself must have known, that had she even aflfinrjed the 
contrary, Sparta could not have believed — j..iy, would have becL under 
a moral obligation not to have believed her. Were it possible to 8U]> 
pose such a case — for instance, such a treaty made by a single besieged 
towD, under an independent government as that of Numantium — it 
becomes no longer a state, but the act of a certain number of individuals 
voluntarily sacrificing themselves, each to preserve his separate honour. 
For the state was already destroyed by the circumstances which alone 
could make such an engagement conceivable. — But we have said, 
nations. Applied to England and France, relatively to treaties, this is 
but a form of speaking. The treaty is really made by some half dozen, 
or perhaps half a hundred individuals, possessing the government of 
these countries. Now it is a universally admitted part of the law of 
nations, that an engagement entered into by a minister with a foi'eign 
power, when it was known to this power that the minister in so doing 
had exceeded and contravened his instructions, is altogether nugatory. 
And is it to be supposed for a moment, that a whole nation, consisting 
of perhaps tvt^enty millions of human souls, could ever have invested a few 
individuals, whom, altogether for the promotion of its welfare it had 
intrusted with its government, with the right of signing away its 
existence ? 


Arnicas reprehensiones gratUsime acdpiamus, oportet: eiiam si reprehendi non meruit 
vpinio nostra, 'ml hanc propter coMsam, quod recte defendi potest. Si verb infirmitat wl 
h'umarM vel propria, etiam cum, veraciter arguiiur, non potest non aliquantulum convrisiari, 
melius tumor dolet dum curatur, qitam dum ei parcitur et non sanatur. Hoc enim est guod 
acute vidit, qui dixit : utiliores esse haitd raro inimicos objurgantes, quitm amicos dbjurgan 
metu£ntes. Illi enim dum rixantur, dicunt aliquando vera quae corrigamus : isH avtiin 
minorem, quam opm-td, exhibent justiticB libertatem, dum amicitice timent exasperare dukedi- 
nem. — Augustinus Hiekontmo : Epist. xciii. Hierou. Opera. Tom. ii. p. 233. 

{Translation.)— CensnTei, offered in friendliness, we ought to receive with gratitude: yea, 
though our opinions did not merit censure, we should still be thankful for the attack on 
them, were it only that it gives us an opportunity of successfully defending the same. (For 
never doth an important truth spread its roots so wide, or clasp the soil so stubbornly as 
when it has braved the winds of controversy. There is a stirring and a far-heard music 
tent forth from the tree of sound knowledge, wlien its branches are fighting with the stum, 
which passing onward shriUs out at once tiidh's triumph and its own defeat.) But if the 
Infirmity of human nature, or of our own constitutional temperament, cannot, even when we 
havo been fairly convicted of erroi, but suffer some smaU mortification, yet better suffer 
pain from its extirpation than from the consequences of its continuance, and of the false 
tenderness that had withheld the remedy. This is what the acute observer had in his mind 
who said, that upbraiding enemies was not seldom more profitable than friends afraid to find 
fault. For the former amidst their quarrelsome invectives may chance on some home truths, 
whicti we may amend in consequence ; while the latter from an over-delicate apprehension o. 
ruffling the smooth surface of friendship .ihrink from its dutlss, and fi-om the manly frpedtni 
w)i!oh truth and justice demanJ. 

Section 1.— Essay 11. 179 

ONLY a few privileged individuals are authorized (ojiass into the theatre 
without stopping at the door-keeper's box ; but every man of decent 
appearance may put down the play-price there, and thenceforward has as 
good a right as the managers themselves not only to see and hear, as far 
as his place in the house, and his own ears and eyes permit him, but 
likewise to express audibly his approbation or disapprobation of what 
may be going forward on the stage. If his feelings happen to be in 
unison with those of the audience in general, he may without breach of 
decorum persevere in his notices of applause or dislike, till the wish of 
the house is complied with. If he finds himself unsupported, he rests 
contented with having once exerted his common right, and on that 
occasion at least gives no further interruption to the amusement of those 
who feel differently from him. So it is, or so it should be, in literature. 
A few extraordinary minds may be allowed to pass a mere opinion 
though, in point of fact, those who alone are entitled to this privilege 
are ever the last to avail themselves of it. Add too, that even the mere 
opinions of such men may in general be regarded either as promissory 
notes, or as receipts referring to a former payment. But every man's 
opinion has a right to pass into the common auditory, if his reason for 
the opinion is paid down at the same time : for arguments are the sole 
current coin of intellect. The degree of influence to which the opinion 
is entitled, should be proportioned to the weight and value of the 
reasons for it ; and whether these are shillings or pounds sterling, the 
man who has given them remains blameless, provided he contents him- 
self with the place to which they have entitled him, and does not 
attempt by strength of lungs to counterbalance its disadvantages, or 
expect to exert as immediate an influence in the back seats of the 
upper gallery as if he had paid in gold and been seated in the stage 

But unfortunately (and here commence the points of difference 
between the theatric and the literary public) in the great theatre of 
literature there are no authorized door-keepers ; for our anonymous 
critics are self-elected. I shall not fear the charge of calumny if I add, 
that they have lost all credit with wise men by unfair deahng : such a& 
their refusal to receive an honest man's money (that is, his argument)^ 
because they anticipate and dislike his opinion, while others of sus- 
]i clous character and the most unseemly appearance are suffered to 
pass without payment, or by virtue of orders which they have them- 
selves distributed to known partizans. Sometimes the honest man''a 
intellectual coin is refused under pretence that it is light or eounterfeitj 
without any proof given either by the money scales, or by sounding the 
coin in dispute t(jgether with one of knov^m goodness. We may carry 
the metaphor still farther. It is by no means a rare case, that trie 
money is returiiod because it had a different sound from that of a coutw 

-80 The Friend. 

terfeit, the brassy blotches on which seemed to blush for the impudence 
of the silver wash in which they were inisled, and rendered the mock 
coin a lively emblem of a lie self-detected. Still oftener does the rejec- 
tion take place by a mere act of insolence, and the blank assertion that 
the candidate's money is light or bad, is justified by a second assertion, 
that he is a fool or knave for offering it. 

The second point of liifFerence explains the preceding, and accounts 
both for the want of established door-keepers in the auditory of litera- 
ture, and for the practices of those, who under the name of reviewers 
volunteer this office. There is no royal mintage for arguments, no 
ready means by which all men alike, who possess common sense, may 
determine their value and intrinsic worth at the first sight or sound. 
Certain forma of natural logic indeed there are, the inobservance ol 
which is decisive against an argument ; but the strictest adherence to 
them is uo proof of its actual (though an indispensable condition of its 
possible) validity : in tjie arguer's own conscience there is, no doubt, a 
certain value, and an infallible criterion of it, which applies to all 
arguments equally ; and this is the sincere conviction of the mind itself. 
But for those to whom it is offered, there are only conjectural marks ; 
yet such as will seldom mislead any man of plain sense, who is both 
honest and observant. These characteristics The Friend attempted to 
comprise in the concluding paragraph of the fourth essay of this section, 
and has described them more at large in the essays that follow, " On 
the communicating of truth." If the honest warmth, which results 
from the strength of the particular conviction, be tempered by the 
modesty which belongs to the sense of general fallibility ; if the emo- 
tions, which accompany all vivid perceptions, are preserved distinct from 
the expression of personal passions, and from appeals to them in the 
heart of others ; if the reasoner asks no respect for the opinion, as his 
opinion, but only in proportion as it is acknowledged by that reason 
Vhich is common to all men ; and, lastly, if he supports an opinion on 
no subject which he has not previously examined, and furnishes proof 
both that he possesses the means of inquiry by his education or the 
nature of his pursuits, and that he has endeavoured to avail himself of 
those means ; then, and with these conditions, every human being is 
authorized to make public the grounds of any opinion which he holds, 
sau of course the opinion itself, as the object of them. Consequently, 
it is the duty of all men, not always indeed to attend to him, but, if 
they do, to attend to him with respect, and with a sincere as well as 
apparent toleration. I should offend against my own laws if 1 dis- 
closed at present the nature of my convictions concerning the degree in 
which this virtue of toleration is possessed and practised by the majority 
of my contemporaries and countrymen. But if the contrary temper ie 
felt and shown in instances where all the conditions have been observed, 

Section 1. — Essay 11. 181 

wliich have been stated at full in the preliminary numbers Ihat form the 
Introduction to this Work, and the chief of which I have just now 
recapitulated; I have no hesitation in declaring that whatever tha 
opinion may be, and however opposite to the hearer's or reader's previous 
persuasions, one or other or all of the following defects must be taken 
for granted. Either the intolerant person is not master of the grounds 
on which his own faith is built ; which therefore neither is or" can be 
his own faith, though it may very easily be his imagined interest, and 
his habit of thought. In this case he is angry, not at the opposition to 
truth, but at the interruption of his own indolence and intellectual 
slumber, or possibly at the apprehension that his temporal advantages 
are threatened, or at least the ease of mind in which he had been 
acc^iistomed to enjoy them. Or, secondly, he has no love of truth foj 
its own sake ; no reverence for the Divine command to seek earnestly 
after it, which command, if it had not been so often and solemnly given 
by revelation, is yet involved and expressed in the gift of reason, and in 
the dependence of all our virtues on its development. He has no 
moral and religious awe for freedom of thought, though accompanied both 
by sincerity and humility ; nor for the right of free communication which 
is ordained by God, together with that freedom, if it be true that God 
has ordained us to live in society, and has made the progressive im- 
provement of all and each of us depend on the reciprocal aids which 
directly or indirectly each supplies to all, and all to each. But if his 
alarm and his consequent intolerance are occasioned by his eternal 
rather than temporal interests, and if, as is most commonly the case, he 
does not deceive himself on this point, gloomy indeed, and erroneous 
beyond idolatry, must have been his notions of the Supreme Being ! 
For surely the poor Heathen who represents to himself the divine 
attributes of wisdom, justice, and mercy, under multiplied and forbidden 
symbols in the powers of Nature or the souls of extraordinary men, 
practises a superstition which (though at once the cause and effect of 
blindness and sensuality) is less incompatible with inward piety and 
true religious feeling, than the creed of that man who, in the spirit 
of his practice, though not in direct words, loses sight of all these attri- 
butes, and substitutes " servile and thrall-like fear, instead of the 
adoptive and cheerful boldness, which our new alliance with God re- 
quires of us as Christians."* Such fear-ridden and thence angry 
believers, or rather acquiescents, would do well to reperuse the book of 

* Milton's Reformation in England. " For all the inward acts of worship issuing from 

in very deed, the superstitious man by his the native strength of lue soul run out 

good will is an Atheist ; but being scared lavishly to the upper skin, and there harden 

from thence by the pangs of conscience, into a crust of formality. Hence men came 

shuffles up to himself such a God and such a to scan the Scriptures hy the letter, and in 

worship as is most accordant to his fear: the covenant of our redemption magnified 

Which fear of his, as also his hope, being fixed the external signs more than the quicliemng 

only upon the flesh, renders liliewise the power of the Spirit.'' 
wnole faculty of his apprehensiim caruaLnud 

182 The Friend. 

Job, and observe the sentence passed by the All-just on the friends of the 
sufferer, who had hoped, like venal advocates, to purchase the favour of 
Doity by uttering truths of which in their own hearts they had neither 
conviction nor comprehension. The truth from the lips did not atone 
for the lie in the heart, while the rashness of agony in the searching 
and bewildered complaint was forgiven in consideration of his sincerity 
and integrity in not disguising the true dictates of his reason and 
conscience, but avowing his incapability of solving a problem by his 
reason, which before the Christian dispensation the Almighty was 
pleased to solve only by declaring it to be beyond the limits of human 
reason. Having insensibly passed into a higher and more serious style 
than I had first intended, I will venture to appeal to these self- 
obscurants, whose faith dwells in the land of the shadow of darkness, 
these Papists without a Pope, and Protestants who protest only against 
all protesting ; and vnll appeal to them in words which yet more 
immediately concern them as Christians, in the hope that they will lend 
a fearless ear to the learned apostle, when he both assures and labours 
to persuade them that they " were called in Christ to all perfectness in 
spiritual knowledge and full assurance of understanding in the mystery 
of God." There can be no end without means ; and Grod furnishes no 
means that exempt us from the task and duty of joining our own best 
endeavours. The original stock, or wild olive tree of our natural 
powers, was not given us to be burnt or blighted, but to be grafted on. 
We are not only not forbidden to examine and propose our doubts, so it 
be done with humility and proceed from a real desire to know the truth ; 
but we are repeatedly commanded so to do : and with a most unchristian 
spirit must that man have read the preceding passages, if he can inter- 
pret any one sentence as having for its object to excuse a too numerous 
class, who, to use the words of St. Augustine, quoerunt non ut fidem sed 
ut infidelitatem inveniant : i. e. such as examine not to find reasons for 
faith, but pretexts for infidelity. 



Such is the iniquity of men, that they snck in opinions as wild asses do the wind, without 
distinguishing the wholesome from the corrupted air, and then Ure upon it at a venture : and 
when all their confidence is built upon zeal and mistake, yet therefore because they are 
zealous and mistaken, they are impatient of contradiction. — Taylor's Epist. Dedic. to tht 
lAberty of Prophesying. 

a TF " (observes the eloquent Bishop in the 13th section of the work 
X from which my motto is selected) " an opinion plainly and directly 
brings in a crime, as if a man preaches treason or sedition, his opinion 
is not his excuse. A man is nevertheless a traitor because he believes 
li lawful to commit treason ; and a man is a murdei-er if he kilio . 'n 

Section 1. — Essay 12. J.83 

lirother unjustly, although he should think that he was doing God gooa 
service thereby. Matters of fact are equally judicable, whether the 
principle of them be from within or from without." 

To dogmatize a crime, that is, to teach it as a doctrine, is itself a 
crime, great or small as the crime dogmatized is more or less palpably 
so. You say (said Sir John Cheke, addressing himself to the Papists 
of his day) that you rebel for your religion. First tell me, what reli- 
gion is that which teaches yoTX to rebel. As my object in the present 
section is to treat of tolerance and intolerance in the public bearings of 
opinions and their propagation, I shall embrace this opportunity of 
selecting the two passages, which I have been long inclined to consider 
as the most eloquent in our English literature, though each in a very 
different style of eloquence, as indeed the authors were as dissimilar in 
their bias, if not in their faith, as two bishops of the same church can 
well be supposed to have been. I think too, I may venture to add, that 
both the extracts will be new to a very great majority of my readers. 
For the length I make no apology. It was part of my plan to allot 
two numbers of The Friend, the one to a selection from our prose 
writers, and the other from our poets ; but in both cases from works 
that do not occur in our ordinary reading. 

The following passages are both on the same subject : the first from 
Taylor's Dissuasive from Popery ; the second from a Letter of Bishop 
Bedell's to an imhappy friend who had deserted the Church of England 
for that of Eome. 

1. The rise and progress of a controversy, from the speculative 
opinion of an individual to the revolution or intestine war of a nation. 

" This is one of the inseparable characters of an heretic ; he sets his 
whole communion and all his charity upon his article ; for to be zealous 
in the schism, that is the characteristic of a good man, that is his note 
of Christiauity ; in all the rest he excuses you or tolerates you, pro- 
vided you be a true believer ; then you are one of the faithful, a good 
man and a precious, you are of the congregation of the saints, and one 
of the godly. All Solifidians do thus ; and all that do thus are Soli- 
fidians, the Church of Rome herself not excepted ; for though in words 
she proclaims the possibility of keeping all the commandments ; yet 
she dispenses easiei T^-^th him that breaks them all, than with him 
that speaks one wore ^against any of her articles, though but the least; 
even the eatr^ 'of fish and forbidding flesh in Lent. So that it is 
faith they regara more than charity, a right belief more than a holy 
life ; and for this you shall be with them upon terms easy enough, pro- 
vided you go not a hair's breadth from anything of her belief. For 
if you do, they have provided for you two deaths and two fires, both 
inevitable and one eternal. And this certainly is one of the greatest 
evils of which the Church of Eome is guilty ; for this in itself is thi 

18'4 ' The Friend. 

greatest and unworthiest uncharitableness. But the procedure is of 
great use to their ends. For the greatest part of Christians are those 
that cannot consider things leisurely and wisely, searching their bottoms 
and discovering their causes, or foreseeing events wbici] are to come 
after ; but are carried away by fear and hope, by affection and prepos- 
Kession : and therefore the Eoman doctors are careful to govern them as 
they will be governed. If you dispute, you gain, it may be, one, and 
lose five ; but if you threaten them with damnation, you keep them in 
fetters ; for they that are ' in fear of death are all their life-time in 
bondage '* (saith the apostle) ; and there is in the world nothing so 
potent as fear of the two deaths, which are the two arms and grapples 
of iron by which the Church of Kome takes and keeps her timoroas or 
conscientious proselytes. The easy Protestant calls upon you from 
Scriyiture to do your duty, to build a holy life upon a holy faith, the 
faith of the apostles and first disciples of our Lord ; he tells you if you 
err, and teaches ye the truth ; and if ye will obey it is well, if not, he 
tells you of your sin, and that all sin deserves the wrath of God ; but 
judges no man's person, much less any states of men. He knows that 
God's judgments are righteous and true ; but he knows also, that His 
mercy absolves many persons, who, in His just judgment, were con- 
demned : and if he had a warrant from God to say, that he should de- 
stroy all the Papists, as Jonah had concerning the Ninevites ; yet he 
remembers that every repentance, if it be sincere, will do more, and 
prevail greater, and last longer than God's anger will. Besides these 
things, there is a strange spring and secret principle in every man's 
understanding, that it is oftentimes turned about by such impulses, of 
which no man can give an account. But we all remember a most 
wonderful instance of it, in the disputation between the two Eeynoldses, 
John and William ; the former of which being a Papist, and the latter 
a Protestant, met and disputed, with a purpose to confute, and to con- 
vert each other. And so they did : for those argaiments, which were 
used, prevailed fully against their adversary and yet did not prevail with 
themselves. The Papist turned Protestant, and the Protestant became 
a Papist, and so remained to their dyino; day. Of which seme inge- 
nious person gave a most handsome account in the following axceUent 
epigram :— „ilj 

Bella, inter geminos, plusquam civilia, fratijy. 

Traxerat ambiguus religionis apex. ' if v. 

lUe reforrnatEe fidei pro partibus instat ■ > ' 

Iste reformandam denegat esse fidcm. 

Propositis causa? rationibns ; alter utrinque 
Concurrere pares, et cecidere pares. 

Quod fuit in volis, fratrem capit alter uterque ; 
Quod fuit in fatis, perdit uterque fidem. 

• Ueb. U. ISi. 

Section 1. — Essay 12. 186 

Captivi gemini sine captivante fuerunt. 

Et victor victi transfuga castra petit. 
Quod genus hoc pugnse est, ubi victus gaudet uterque ; 

Et tamen alteruter se stiper^sse dolet ? 

*• But further yet, he considers the natural and regular infirmities of 
niiinkind, and God considers them much more ; he knows that in mau 
there is nothing admirahle but his ignorance and weakness ; his preju- 
dice, and the infallible certainty of being deceived in many things : he 
sees that wicked men oftentimes know much more than many veiy 
good men ; and that the understanding is not of itself considerable in 
morality, and effects nothing in rewards and punishments : it is the will 
only that rules man, and can obey God. He sees and deplores it, that 
many men study hard, and understand little ; that they dispute earnestly, 
and understand not one another at all ; that affections creep so certainly, 
and mingle with their arguing, that the argument is lost, and nothing re- 
mains but the conflict of two adversaries' affections ; that a man is so 
willing, so easy, so ready to believe what makes for his opinion, so hard 
to understand an argumen-t against himself, that it is plain it is the 
principle within, not the argument without, that determines him. He 
observes also that all the world (a few individuals excepted) are un- 
alterably determined to the religion of their country, of their family, of 
their society ; that there is never any considerable change made, but 
what is made by war and empire, by fear and hope. He remembers that 
it is a rare thing to see a Jesuit of the Dominican opinion, or a Domi- 
nican (until of late) of the Jesuit ; but every order gives laws to the 
understanding of their novices, and they never change. He considers 
there is such ambiguity in words, by which all lawgivers express 'their 
meaning ; that there is such abstruseness in mysteries of religion, that 
sdme things are so much too high for us, that we cannot imderstand 
them rightly ; and yet they are so sacred, and concerning, that men 
will think they are bound to look into them as far as they can ; that it 
is no wonder if they quickly go too far, where no understanding, if it 
were fitted for it, could go far enough ; but in these things it will be 
hard not to be deceived, since our words cannot rightly express those 
things. That there is such variety of human understandings, that 
men's faces differ not so much as their souls ; and that if there were not 
so much difficulty in things, yet they could not but be variously appre- 
hended by several men. And hereto he considers, that in twenty 
opinions, it may be that not one of them is true ; nay, whereas Varrc 
reckoned, that among the old philosophers there were eight hundred 
opinions concerning the summum honum, that yet not one of them hit 
the right. He sees also that in all religions, in all societies, in all 
families, a.nd in all thmgs, opinions differ ; and since opinions are toe 
often begot by passion, by passions and violence they are kept ; and 
every man is too apt to overvalue his own opinion ; and out of a desire 

186 The Friend. 

that every man should conform his judgment to his that teaches, men 
are apt to be earnest in their persuasion, and overact the proposition ; 
and from being true as he supposes, he will think it profitable ; and if 
you warm him either with confidence or opposition, he quickly tells you 
it is necessary ; and as he loves those that think as he does, so he is 
ready to hate them that do not ; and then secretly from wishing evil to 
him, he is apt to believe evil will come to him, and that it is just it 
should ; and by this time the opinion is troublesome, and puts other 
men upon their guard against it ; and then while passion reigns, and 
reason is modest and patient, and talks not loud like a storm, victory is 
more regarded than truth, and men call God into the party, and His 
judgments are used for arguments, and the threatenings of the Scrip- 
ture are snatched up in haste, and men throw arrows, firebrands, and 
death, and by this time all the world is in an i;proar. All this, and a 
thousand things more the English Protestants considering deny not their 
communion to any Christian who desires it, and believes the Apostles 
Creed, and is of the religion of the four first general councils ; they hope 
well of all that live well ; they receive into their bosom all true be- 
lievers of what church soever ; and for them that err, they instruct 
vhem, and then leave them to their liberty, to stand or fall before their 
own Master." 

2. A doctrine not the less safe for being the more charitable. 

" Christ our Lord hath given us, amongst others, two infallible notes 
to know the Church." "My sheep," saith He, "hear. My voice:" and 
again, " By this shall all men know that you are My disciples, if ye 
love one another." — What ! shall we stand upon conjectural arguments 
from that which men say ? We are partial to ourselves, malignant tc 
our ppposites. Let Christ be heard who be His, who not. And for the 
hearing of His voice — Oh that it might be the issue ! But I see you de- 
cline it, therefore I leave it also for the present. That other is that 
which now I stand upon : " the badge of Christ's sheep." Not a like- 
lihood, but a certain token whereby every man may know thera : " by 
this," saith He, "■ shall all men know that ye are My disciples, if ye have 
charity one towards another." Thanks be to God, this mark of our 
Saviour is in us which you with our schismatics and other enemies 
want. As Solomon found the true mother by her natural affection, 
that chose rather to yield to her adversary's plea, claiming her child, 
than endure that it should be cut in pieces ; so may it soon be found at 
this day whether is the true mother. Ours, that saith, Give her the 
living child and kill him not ; or yours, that if she may not have it, is 
content it be killed rather than want of her will. Alas ! (saith ours 
even of those that leave her) these be my children I I have borne them 
to Christ in baptism : I have nourished them as I could with mine own 
breasts. His testaments. I would have brought them up to man's 

Section 1.— Essay 13 187 

estate, as their free birth and parentage deserves. Whether it be their 
lightness or discontent, or her enticing words and gay shows, they leave 
me ; they have found a better mother. Let them live yet, though in 
bondage. I shall have patience ; I commit the care of them to their 
Father, I beseech Him to keep them that they do no evil. If they make 
thair peace with Him, I am satisfied ; they have not hurt me at all. 
Nay, but saith yours, I sit alone as queen and mistress of Christ's 
family, he that hath not me for his mother, cannot have God for his 
Father. Mine therefore are these, either bora or adopted ; and if they 
will not be mine they shall be none. So without expecting Christ's sen- 
tence she cuts with the temporal sword, hangs, burns, draws, those that 
she perceives inclined to leave her. or have left her already. So she 
kills with the spiritual sword those that are subject not to her, yea thou- 
sand?, of souls that not only have no means so to do, but many which 
never so much as have heard whether there be a Pope of Rome or no. 
Let our Solomon be judge between them, yea, judge you, Mr. Waddes- 
worth ! more seriously and maturely, not by guesses, but by the very 
mark of Christ, which wanting yourselves you have unawares discovered 
in us : judge, I say, without passion and partiality, according to Christ's 
Word : which is His flock, which is His church." 



ripbj ffoXeeos ivhaifioviav Koi SiKai.oavw)!' navra ISmtov inirpoirdev Tera/tTai ^v(ret' TOVTHof 
jc rd iiev a.v9pu>irLva ets to. Seta, toL 5e 6eia. ets toi' r[yejj,6va Nouv ^u/u.iravTa Sei ^Keneiv, bvx 
105 irpos ap€T7|s tI fnopLOv, aWa jrpbs a.pirr]V h> aperais aei vrrojU.ei'oOcrai', cis Trpbs vofiov TiVo 
von-oOiTovvTo., nAaTWf • Tepl No/iMy 

{Translatixm.') — For all things that regard the well-being and justice of a state are pre- 
ordained and established in the nature of the individual. Of these it behoves that the merely 
human (the temporal and fluxional) should be referred and subordinated to the Diviae in 
man, and the Divine in lilce manner to the Supreme Mind, so however that the state is not 
to regulate its actions by reference to any particular form and fragment of virtue, but must 
fix its eye on that virtue, which is the abiding spirit and (as it were) substratum in all the 
virtuea, as on a law that is itself legislative. 

IT were absurd to suppose that individuals should be under a laTJ- c^ 
moral obligation, and yet that a million of the same individuals acting 
collectively or through representatives should be exempt from all law ; 
for morality i« no accident of human nature, but its essential charac- 
teristic. A being absolutely without morality is either a beast or a 
fiend, according as we conceive this want of conscience to be natural or 
sclf-pnxhiced ; oi- (to come nearer to the common notion, though with 
the saciifice of austere accuracy) according as the being is conceived 
without the law, or in unceasing and irretrievable rebellion to it. Yet 

188 The Friend. 

were it possible to conceive a man wholly immoral, it would remain im- 
possible to conceive him without a moral obligation to be otherwise ; and 
none, but a madman, will imagine that the essential qualities of any- 
thing can be altered by its becoming part of an aggregate ; that a grain 
of corn, for instance, shall cease to contain flour, as soon as it is part of a 
peck or bushel. It is therefore grounded in the nature of the thing, and 
not by a mere fiction of the mind, that wise men, who have written on 
the law of nations, have always considered the several states of the civi- 
lized world as so many individuals, and equally with the latter under a 
moral obligation to exercise their free agency within such bounds as 
render it compatible with the existence of free agency in others. We 
may represent to ourselves this original free agency as a right of com- 
monage, the formation of separate states as an enclosure of this commoDj 
the allotments awarded severally to the co-proprietors as constituting 
national rights, and the law of nations as the common register office of 
their title deeds. But in all morality, though the principle, which is 
the abiding spirit of the law, remains perpetual and unaltered, even as 
that Supreme Eeason in whom and from whom it has its being, yet the 
letter of the law, that is, the application of it to particular instances, 
and the mode of realizing it in actual practice, must be modified by the 
existing circumstances. What we should desire to do, the conscience 
alone will inform us ; but how and when we are to make the attempt, 
and to what extent it is in our power to accomplish it, are questions for 
the judgment, and require an acquaintance with facts and their bear- 
ings on each other. Thence the improvement of our judgment, and the 
increase of our knovdcdge, on all subjects included within our sphere of 
action, are not merely advantages recommended by prudence, but abso- 
lute duties imposed on us by conscience. 

As the circumstances then, under which men act as statesmen, are 
different from those under which they act as individuals, a proportionate 
difference must be expected in the practical rules by which their public 
conduct is to be determined. Let me not be misunderstood : I speak of 
a difference in the practical rules, not in the moral law itself which these 
rules point out, the means of administering in particular cases, and under 
given circumstances. The spirit continues one and the same, thouo-h it 
may vary its form according to the element into which it is transported. 
This difference, with its grounds and consequences, it is the province 
of the philosophical juspublicist to discover and display ; and exactly 
in this point (I speak with unfeigned diffidence) it appears to me that 
the writers on the law of nations,* whose works I have had the oppor- 

* Grotius, Bynkersboek, I'uttendorf, Wolfe, of the Cases of the Court of Admiralty uii- 

fiudVattel; to whose works I must add, as der Sir W. Scott : to -whom international law 

comprising whatever is mo^t valuable in the la under no less obligation than the law o1 

preceding authors, with many important im- commercial proceedings was to the late Lord 

piuNements and additions, Robinson's Reports Mansfield. As I have never seen Sir W 

Section 1. — Essay 13. 189 

tunity of studying, have been least successful. In what does the law of 
nations differ from the laws enacted by a particular state for its own sub- 
jects ? The solution is evident. The law of nations, considered apart 
from the common principle of all morality, is net fixed or positive in 
itself, nor supplied with any regular means of being enforced. Like 
those duties in private life which, for the same reasons, moralists have 
entitled imperfect duties (though the most atrocious guilt may be 
involved in the omission or violation of them), the law of nations appeals 
only to the conscience and prudence of the parties concerned. Wherein 
then does it differ from the moral laws which the reason, considered as 
conscience, dictates for the conduct of individuals ? This is a more 
difficult question ; but my answer would be determined by, and 
grounded on, the obvious differences of the circumstances in the two 
cases. Kemember then, that we are now reasoning, not ^s sophists or 
system-mongers, but as men anxious to discover what is right in order 
that we may practise it, or at least, give our suffrage and the influence 
of our opinion in recommending its practice. We must therefore con- 
fine the question to those cases, in which honest men and real patriots 
can suppose any controversy to exist between real patriotism and common 
honesty. The objects of the patriot are, that his countrymen should, 
as far as circumstances permit, enjoy what the Creator designed for 
the enjoyment of animals endowed with reason, and of course develop 
those faculties which were given them to be developed. He would do 
his best that every one of his countrymen should possess whatever all 
men may and should possess, and that a sufficient number should be 
enabled and encouraged to acquire those excellences which, though not 
necessary or possible /or all men, are yet to all men useful and honour- 
able. He knows that patriotism itself is a necessary link in the golden 
chain of our affections and virtues, and turns away with indignant 
scorn from the false philosophy or mistaken religion which would 
persuade him that cosmopolitism is nobler than nationality, and the 
human race a sublimer object of love than a people ; that Plato, 
Luther, Newton, and their equals, formed themselves neither in the 
market nor the senate, but in the world, and for all men of all ages. 
True! But where, and among whom are these giant exceptions pro- 
duced? In the wide empires of Asia, where miUions of human beings 
acknowledge no other bond but that of a common slavery, and are dis- 
tinguished on the map but by a name which themselves perhaps never 
heard, or hearing abhor ? No ! In a circle defined by human affectiot8, 
the first firm sod within which becomes sacred beneath the quickened step 
of the returnino' citizen — here, where the powers and interests of men 

Scott nor either by myself or my connections may think my opinion erroneous, I shall ai 
"Djoy the honour of the remotest acquaint- least not he siispected ot mtentional flat 
ance with him. 1 tnist that even by those who tery 

190 The Friend. 

Bpread without confusion through a common sphere, like the vibrafions 
propagated in the air by a single voice, distinct yet coherent, and all 
uniting to express one thought and the same feeling! Hei'e, where 
even the common soldier dares force a passage for his comrades by 
gathering up the bayonets of the enemy into his own breast ; because 
his country " expected every man to do his duty !" and this not after lie 
has been hardened by habit, but, as probably, in his first battle ; not 
reckless or hopeless, but braving death from a keener sensibility to 
those blessings which make life dear, to those qualities which render 
himself worthy to enjoy them ! Here, where the royal crown is loved 
and worshipped as a glory around the sainted head of Freedom ! where 
the rustic at his plough whistles with equal enthusiasm, " God save 
the King," and " Britons never shall be slaves ;" or, perhaps, leaves on* 
!histle unweeded in his garden, because it is the symbol of his dear 
i.ative land!* Here, from within this circle defined, as light by shade, 
or rather as light within light, by its intensity, here alone, and only 
within these magic circles, rise up the awful spirits, whose words are 
oiacles for mankind, whose love embraces all countries, and whose 
vcice sounds through all ages! Here, and here only, may we con- 
lidently expect those mighty minds to be reared and ripened, whose 
names are naturalized in foreign lands, the sure fellow-travellers of 
••/iv lization ! and yet render their own country dearer and more proudly 
ilear to their own countrymen. This is indeed cosmopolitism, at once 
the nursling and the nurse of patriotic affection ! This, and this alone, 
's genuine j^hilanthropy, which, like the olive tree, sacied to concord 
and to wisdom, fattens not exhausts the soil from which it sprang, 
11 id in which it remains rooted. It is feebleness only which cannot be 
gouerous without injustice, or just without ceasing to be generous. Is 
the morning star less brilliant, or does a ray less fall on the golden 
fruitage of the earth, because the moons of Saturn too feed their lamps 
from the same sun ? Even Germany, though cursed with a base and 
hateful brood of nobles and princelings, cowardly and ravenous jackals to 
the very flocks entrusted to them as to shepherds, who hunt for the tiger 
end whine and wag their tails for his bloody offal — even Germany, whose 
ever-changing boundaries superannuate the last year's map, and are 
altered as easily as the hurdles of a temporary sheepfold, is still remem- 
bered with filial love and a patriot's pride, when the thoughtful German 

* I cannot, here refuse myself the pleasure The rough bur-thistle spreading wide 

of recording a speech of the poet Bums, re- Amang the beard ecf bear, 

lated to me by the lady to whom it was I turned the weeder-clips aside 

»\ddrossed. Having been asked by her, why An' spared the symbol dear." 
in his more serious poems he had not changed 

the two or three Scotch words which seemed An author may be allowed to quote from 

only to disturb the purity of the style? the his own poea>s, when he does it with as mucU 

yoet with great sweetness, and his usual modesty and felicity as Burns did in tliis in- 

»applness In reply, answered, " Why in truth stance. 
It would have been better, but — 

Section L—JSssay 13. 191 

hears the names of Luther and Leibnitz. " Ah ! why," ho sighs, " why 
for herself in vain should ruy country have produced such a host of 
immortal minds!" Yea, even the poor enslaved, degraded, and bar- 
barized Greek, can still point to the harbour of Tenedos, and say — 
" There lay our fleet when we were besieging Troy." Reflect a moment 
on the past history of this wonderful people ! What were they while 
they remained free and independent ? when Greece resembled a collec- 
tion of mirrors set in a single frame, each having its own focus of 
patriotism, yet all capable, as at Marathon and Platea, of converging 
to one point and of consuming a common foe ? What were they then ? 
The fountains of light and civilization, of truth and of beauty, to all 
mankind ! they were the thinking head, the beating heart, of the whole 
world! They lost their independence, and with their independence 
their patriotism ; and became the cosmopolites of antiquity. It has 
been truly observed (by the author of the work for which Palm was 
murdered) that, after the first acts of severity, the Eomans treated the 
Greeks not only more mildly than theit other slaves and dependants, 
they behaved to them even affectionately and with munificence. The 
victor nation felt reverentially the presence of the visible and invisible 
deities that live sanctity to every grove, every fountain, and every 
forum. " Think (writes Pliny to one of his friends) that you are sent 
into the province of Achaia, that true and genuine Greece, where 
civilization, letters, even corn, are believed to have been discovered ; 
that you are sent to administer the affairs of free states, that is, to 
men eminently free, who have retained their natural right by valour, 
by services, by friendship, lastly by treaty and by religion. Revere the 
Gods, their founders, the sacred influences represented in those Gods, 
revere their ancient glory and this very old age which in man is 
venerable, in cities sacred. Cherish in thyself a reverence of antiquity, 
a reverence for their great exploits, a reverence even for their fables. 
Detract nothing from the proud pretensions of any state ; keep before 
thine eyes that this is the land which sent us our institutions, which 
gave us our laws, not after it was subjugated, but in compliance with 
our pctiti.~n."* And what came out of these men, who were eminently 
free witnout patriotism, because without national independence? (which 
eminent freedom, however, Pliny himself, in the very next sentence, 
styles the shadow and residuum of liberty.) While they were intense 
patriots, they were the benefactors of all mankind, legislators for the 
very nation that afterwards subdued and enslaved them._ When, 
therefore, they became pure cosmopoUtes, and no partial affections inter- 
rupted their philanthropy, and when yet they retained their country 
their language, and their arts, what noble works, what mighty discoveries, 
may we not expect from them ? If the applause of a ittle city (a firsts 
• pito. Eplflt Ub. VIII. 

192 The Friend. 

rate town of a country not much larger than Yorkshire) and the 
encouragement of a Pericles, produced a Phidias, a Sophocies, and a 
constellation of other stars scarcely inferior in glory, what wiH not the 
applause of the world effect, and the boundless munificence of the 
world's imperial masters ? Alas ! no Sophocles appeared, no Phidias 
was born 1 individual genius fled with national independence, and the 
best products were cold and laborious copies of what their fathers had 
thought and invented in grandeur and majesty. At length nothing 
remained but dastardly and cunning slaves, who avenged their own 
ruin and degradation by assisting to degrade and ruin their conquerors; 
and the golden harp of their divine language remained only as the 
frame on which priests and monks spun their dirty cobwebs of sophistry 
and superstition ! 

If then in order to be men we must be patriots, and patriotism cannot 
exist without national independence, we need no new or particular code 
of morals to justify us in placing and preserving our country in that 
relative situation which is most favourable to its independence. But the 
true patriot is aware that this object is not to be accomplished by a 
system of general conquest, such as wag pursued by Philip of Macedon 
and his son, nor yet by the political annihilation of the one state, which 
happens to be its most formidable rival ; the unwise measure recom- 
mended by Cato, and carried into effect by the Romans, in the instance 
of Carthage. Not by the latter ; for rivalry between two nations con- 
duces to the independence of both, calls forth or fosters all the virtues by 
which national security is maintained. Still less by the former ; for the 
victor nation itself must at length, by the very estension of its own con- 
quests, sink into a mere province ; nay, it will most probably become 
the most abject portion of the empire, and the most cruelly oppressed, 
both because it will be more feared and suspected by the common 
tyrant, and because it will be the sink and centre of his luxury and cor- 
ruption. Even in cases of actual injury and just alarm the patriot sets 
bounds to the reprisal of national vengeance, and contents himself with 
such securities as are compatible with the welfare, though not with the 
ambitious projects of the nation, whose aggressions had given the provo- 
catijn : for as patriotism inspires no superhuman faculties, neither can 
it dictate any conduct which would require such. He is too conscious 
of his own ignorance of the future, to dare extend his calculations into 
remote periods ; nor, because he is a statesman, arrogates to himself the 
cares of Providence and the government of the world. How does he 
know, but that the very independence and consequent virtues of the 
nation, which in the anger of cowardice he would fain reduce to absolute 
insignilicance, and rob even of its ancient name, may in some future 
emergency be the destined guardians of his own country ; and that the 
power which now alarms, may hereafter protect and preserve it ? Th« 

Section 1. — Essay 14. 193 

experience of history authorizes not only the possibility, but even the 
probability ot such an event. An American commander, who has de- 
served and received the highest honours which his grateful country, 
through her assembled representatives, could bestow upon him, once 
said to me with a sigh : " In an evil hour for my country did the French 
and Spaniards abandon Louisiana to the United States. We wer« not 
sufBciently a country before ; and should we ever be mad enough to 
drive the English from Canada and her other North American provinces, 
we shall soon cease to be a country at all. Without local attachment, 
without national honour, we shall resemble a swarm of insects that 
settle on the fruits of the earth to corrupt and consume them, rather 
than men who love and cleave to the land of their forefathers. After a 
shapeless anarchy, and a series of civil wars, we shall at last be forme<i 
into many countries ; unless the vices engendered in the process should 
demand further punishment, and we should previously fall beneath the 
despotism of some military adventurer, like a lion, consumed by an 
inward disease, prosti'ate and helpless, beneath the beak and talons of a 
vulture, or yet meaner bird of prey." 


'0, Ti fiev TTpbs Tov Tov oAov nkovTOv, jaaAAoi' Se ■^■po^; tI <j>a.vTa<riJia, jroAews aTracn)?, 5 irav- 
raxri koX ouSa/u.ij etrrl, (jtepei. (naflrjfia Kai eTrtr^Sev/xa, touto xprjaiiJLOV KaX <r6ij)OV Ti So^curOrj- 
(TCTai- TOiv de aWoiV KaTO-yeka. 6 ttoAitikoS' ravTriV r^vaWtav xp») (j>dvcu tov fA^Te oAAo KoKov^ 
/i))Te Ta Trpos toi" TroAejuov ixeyakowpeinai a<XKeiv toLs TroAeis, tmv irokinav /u,aA' ivCoTf ovK 
a^vSiv ovToiv, Sv<rTV)(OvvTa>v ye lirjv. IIws Aeyei; ; TJoii fi.ev ovv avTOU? ov keyoifj.' av to 
vapdnav Sv(ttu)(W, oli ye avdyicri Sia ^Cov neLvuxri. ttjj' \I/vxW <*" tt)'' o-vtoiv Sie^eKdelv. 


(lyanslation.)— Whatever study or doctrine bears upon the wealth of the whole, say rather 
on a certain phantom of a state in toto, which is everywhere and nowhere, this shall be 
deemed most useful and wise ; and all else is the state-craftsman's scorn. This we dare pro- 
nounce the cause why nations torpid on their dignity in general, conduct their wars so little in 
a grand and magnanimous spirit, while the citizens are too often wretched, though endowed 
with high capabilities by nature. How say you ? Nay, how should I not call them wretched, 
who are under the unrelenting necessity of wasting away their life in the mere search after 
the means of supporting it f Plato, de Leglbus, viii. 

IN the preceding essay we treated of what may be wisely desired in 
respect to our foreign relations. The same sanity of mind will the true 
patriot display, in all that regards the internal prosperity of his country. 
He will reverence not only whatever tends to make the component indi- 
viduals more happy, and more worthy of happiness ; but likewise what- 
ever tends to bind them more closely together as a people ; that as a 
nj altitude of parts and functions make up one human body, so the whole 
multitude of his countrymen may, by the visible and invisible influences 
of relio-ion, language, laws, customs, and the reciprocal dependence and 
reaction of trade and agriculture, be organized into one body politic. 
But niuch as he desires to see all become a whole, he places Mmiia even 


194 Tfie Friend. 

to tliif wish, and abhors that system of policy v/hich would blend mefc 
into a state by the dissolution of all those virtues which make them 
iiappy and estimable as individuals. Sir James Steuart (Polit. Ecoa 
Vol. I. p. 88) after stating the case of the vine-dresser, who is propiietor 
f a bit of land, on v/hich grain (enough, and no more) is raised for him- 
self and family, and who provides for their jther wants of clothintr, 
salt, &c. by bis extra labour as a vine-dresser, observes — " From this 
example we discover the difference between agriculture exercised as a 
trade, and as a direct means of subsistence. We have the two species in 
the vine-dresser : he labours the vineyard as a trade, and his spot of 
ground for subsistence. We may farther conclude, that as to the last 
part he is only useful to himself ; but as to the first, he is useful to tlit- 
society and becomes a member of it ; consequently were it not for hif 
trade the state would lose nothing, although the vine-dresser and his 
land were both swallowed up by an earthquake." 

Now this contains the sublime philosophy of the sect of economists. 
They worship a kind of nonentity under the different words, the state, 
the whole, the society, &c., and to this idol they make bloodier sacrifices 
than ever the Mexicans did to Tescalipoca. All, that is, each and every 
sentient being in a given tract, are made diseased and vicious, in order 
that each may become useful to all, or the state, or the society, — that is, 
to the word all, the word state, or the word society. The absurdity 
may be easily perceived by omitting the words relating to this idol, as 
for instance, in a former paragraph of the same (in most respects) 
excellent work : " If it therefore happens that an additional number pro- 
duced do no more than feed themselves, then I perceive no advantage 
gained from their production." What! no advantage gained by, for 
instance, ten thousand happy, intelligent, and immortal beings having 
been produced ? Oh yes ! but no advantage " to this society." What is 
this " society ?" this " whole ?" this " state ?" Is it anything else but a 
word of convenience to express at once the aggregate of confederated in- 
dividuals living in a certain district? Let the sum total of each man's 
happiness be supposed = 1000 ; and suppose ten thousand men produced, 
who neither made swords nor poison, or found corn or clothes for those 
who did, but wlio procured by their labour food and raiment for them- 
selves, and for their children ; would not that society be richer by 
10,000,000 parts of happiness? And think you it possible, that ten 
thousand happy human beings can exist together without increasing 
each other's happiness, or that it will not overflow into countless chan- 
neis,* and diffuse itself through the rest of the society? 

* Well, and in the spirit of genuine philoio- Providence, by the ceaseless activity which 

|,l)y, does the poet describe such beings as men it has hliplanted in our nature, has siiffl- 

" VVbo being innocent do for that cause ciently guarded against an innocence without 

Bestir them in good deeds,' virtue, 


Section 1. — Essay 14. 19C 

The poor vine-dresser rises from sweet slee^j, worsliips his Maker, goes 
with his wife and children into his little plot, returns to his hut at 
noon, and eats the produce of the similar labour of a former day. Is he 
useful ? No ! not yet. Suppose, then, that during the remaining hours 
of the day he endeavoured to provide for his moral and intellectual 
appetites, by physical experiments and philosophical research, by ac- 
quiring knowledge for h-imself, and communicating it to his wife and 
children. Would he be useful then? " He useful ! The state would 
lose nothing although the vine-dresser and his land were both swal- 
lowed up by an earthquake !" Well then, instead of devoting the latter 
half of each day to his closet, his laboratory, or to neighbourly conversa- 
tion, suppose he goes to the vineyard, and from the ground which would 
maintain in health, virtue, and wisdom, twenty of his fellow-creatures, 
helps to laise a quantity of liquor that will disease the bodies and 
debauch the soiils of a hundred — Is he useful now ? Oh yes ! — a very 
useful man, and a most excellent citizen ! ! 

In what then does the law between state and state differ from that 
oetween man and man ? For hitherto we seem to have discovered no 
variation. The law of nations is the law of common honesty, modified 
by the circumstances in which states differ from individuals. According 
to The Friend's best understanding, the differences may be reduced to 
this one point ; that the influence of example in any extraordinary case, 
as the possible occasion of an action apparently like, though in reality 
very different, is of considerable importance in the moral calculations of 
an individual ; but of little, if any, in those of a nation. The reasons 
?re evident. In the first place, in cases concerning which there can be 
any dispute between an honest man and a true patriot, the circumstances, 
which at once authorize and discriminate the measure, are so marked 
and peculiar and notorious, that it is incapable of being drawn into a 
precedent by any other state under dissimilar circumstances ; except 
perhaps as a mere pretext for an action, which had been predetermined 
without reference to this authority, and which would have taken place, 
though it had never existed. But if so strange a thing should happen 
as a second coincidence of the same circumstances, or of circumstances 
sufficiently similar to render the prior measure a fair precedent ; then, if 
the one action was justifiable, so will the other be ; and without any 
reference to the former, which in this case may be useful as a light, but 
cannot be requisite as an authority. Secondly, in extraordinary cases it 
is ridiculous to suppose that the conduct of states will be determined by 
example. We know that they neither will, nor in the nature of things 
can be determined by any othei- consideration but that of the imperious 
circumstances, which render a particular measure advisable. But lastly 
and more important than all, individuals are and must be under positive 
laws : and so very great is the advantage which results from the regu 

196 Tlie Friend. 

larity of legal decisions, and their consequent capability of being fore 
known and relied upon, that equity itself must sometimes be sacrificed 
to it. For the very letter of a positive law is part of its spirit. But 
stiites neither are, nor can be, under positive laws. The only fixed part 
of the law of nations is the spirit ; the letter of the law consists wholly 
in the circumstances to which the spirit of the law is applied. It is mere 
puerile declamation to rail against a country, as having imitated the 
vjry measures for which it had most blamed its ambitious enemy, if 
that enemy had previously changed all the relative circumstances which 
had existed for him, and therefore rendered his conduct iniquitous ; but 
which, having been removed, however iniquitously, cannot without 
absurdity be supposed any longer to control the measures of an innocent 
nation, necessitated to struggle for its own safety ; especially when the 
measures in question were adopted for the very purpose of restoring 
those circumstances. 

There are times when it would be wise to regard patriotism as a Kght 
that is in danger of being blown out, rather than as a fire which needs 
to be fanned by the winds of party spirit. There are times when party 
spirit, without any unwonted excess, may yet become faction ; and 
though in general not less useful than natural in a free government, 
may under particular emergencies prove fatal to freedom itself. I trust 
I am writing to those who think with me, that to have blackened a 
ministry, however strong or rational our dislike may be of the persons 
who compose it, is a poor excuse and a miserable compensation for the 
crime of unnecessarily blackening the character of our country. Under 
this conviction, I request my reader to cast his eye back on my last 
argument, and then to favour me with his patient attention while I 
attempt at once to explain its purport and to show its cogency. 

Let us transport ourselves in fancy to the age and country of the 
Patriarchs, or, if the reader prefers it, to some small colony uninfluenced 
by the mother country, which has not organized itself into a state, or 
agreed to acknowledge any one particular governor. We will suppose 
this colony to consist of from twenty to thirty households or separate 
estabhshments, differing greatly from each other in the number of 
retainers and in extent of possessions. Each household, however, pos- 
sesses its own domain, the least equally with the greatest, in full right ; 
and its master is an independent sovereign within his own boundaries. 
This mutual understanding and tacit agreement we may well suppose to 
have been the gradual result of many feuds, which had produced misery 
to all and real advantage to none ; and that the same sober and reflect- 
ing persons, dispersed through the different establishments, who had 
brought about this state of things, had likewise coincided in the pro- 
priety of some other prudent and humane regulations, which from the 
authority of these wise men on points in which they were unaniujoufl 

Section 1. — Essay 14. 197 

' »Ld from the evident good sense of the rules themselves, were acknow- 
ledged throughout the whole colony, though they were never voted into 
a formal law, though the determination of the cases, to which these rules 
were applicable, had not been intrusted to any recognized judoe, nor 
their enforcement delegated to any particular magistrate. Of'' these 
virtual laws this, we may safely conclude, would be the chief ; that as 
no man ought to interfere in the affairs of anotiier against his will, so if 
any master of a household, instead of occupying himself with the im- 
provement of his own fields and flocks, or with the better regulation of 
his own establishment, should be foolish and wicked enough to employ 
his children and servants in breaking down the fences and taking pos- 
session of the lands and property of a fellow-colonist, or in turning the 
head of the family out of his house, and forcing those that remained to 
acknowledge himself as their governor instead, and to obey whomever 
he might please to appoint as his deputy — that it then became the 
duty and interest of the other colonists to join against the aggressor, and 
to do all in their power to prevent him from accomplishing his bad pur- 
poses, or to compel him to make restitution and compensation. The 
mightier the aggressor, and the weaker the tnjured party, the more 
cogent would the motive become for restraining the one and protecting 
the other. For it was plain that he who was suffered to overpower, one 
by one, the weaker proprietors, and render the members of their esta- 
blishment subservient to his will, must soon become an overmatch for 
those who were formerly his equals ; and the mightiest would differ 
from the meanest only by being the last victim. 

This allegoric fable faithfully portrays the law of nations and the 
balance of power among the European states. Let us proceed with 
it in the form of history. In the second or third generation the pro- 
prietors too generally disregarded the good old opinion, that what in- 
jured any could be of real advantage to none ; and treated those, whc 
still professed it, as fit only to instruct children in their catechism. 
By the avarice of some, the cowardice of others, and by the corruption 
and want of foresight in the greater part, the former state of things had 
been completely changed, and the tacit compact set at nought, the 
general acknowledgment of which had been so instrumental in producing 
this irtate, and in preserving it as long as it lasted. The stronger had 
preyed on the weaker, whose wrongs, however, did not remain long 
unavenged. For the same selfishness and blindness to the future, which 
had induced the wealthy to trample on the rights of the poorer pro- 
prietors, prevented them from assisting each other effectually when they 
were themselves attacked, one after the other, by the most powerful of 
all ; and fi-om a concurrence of circumstances attacked so succeasfuUy, 
that of the whole colony few remained, that were not, directly or indi- 
rectly, the creatures and dependents of one overgrown establishroent. 

i98 The Friend. 

Say rather, of its new master, an adventurer whom chance and poverty 
had brought thither, and who in better times would have been employed 
in the swine-yard, or the slaughter-house, from his moody temper and 
his aversion to all the arts that tended to improve either the land oi 
those that were to be maintained by its produce. He was howevei 
eminent for other qualities, which were still better suited to promote 
his power among those degenerate colonists ; for he feared neither God 
nor his own conscience. The most solemn oaths could not hind him ; 
the most deplorable calamities could not awaken his pity ; and when 
others were asleep, he was either brooding over some scheme of robbery 
and murder, or with a part of his banditti actually employed in laying 
waste his neighbours' fences, or in undermining the walls of their houses. 
His natural cunning, undistracted by any honest avocations, and meet- 
ing with no obstacle either in his head or heart, and above all, having 
been quickened and strengthened by constant practice and favoured by 
the times with all conceivable opportunities, ripened at last into a sur- 
prising genius for oppression and tyranny : and, as we must distinguish 
^ him by some name, we will call him Misetes. The only estate, which 
remained able to bid defiance to this common enemy, was that of Pam- 
philus, superior to Misetes in wealth, and his equal in strength ; though 
not in the power of doing mischief, and still less in the wish. Their 
characters were indeed perfectly contrasted; for it may be tn^ly said, 
that throughout the whole colony there was not a single establishment 
which did not owe some of its best buildings, the increased produce ol 
its fields, its improved implements of industry, and the general more 
decent appearance of its members, to the information given and the 
encouragements afforded by Pamphilus and those of his household. 
Whoever i-aised more than they wanted for their own establishment 
were sure to find a ready purchaser in Pamphilus, and oftentimes for 
articles which they had themselves been before accustomed to regard as 
worthless, or even as nuisances ; and they received in return things 
necessary or agreeable, and always in one respect at least useful, that 
they roused the purchaser to industry and its accompanying virtues. 
In this intercommunion all were benefited ; for the wealth of Pamphilus 
was increased by the increasing industry of his fellow-colonists, and 
their industry needed the support and encouraging influences of Para- 
philus's capital. To this good man and his estimable househohl Misetes 
bore the most implacable hatred, and had publicly sworn that he would 
root him out ; the only sort of oath which he was not likely to break by 
&ny want of will or effort on his own part. But fortunately for Pam- 
philus, his main property consisted of one compact estate divided from 
Misetes and the rest of the colony by a wide and dangerous river, with 
the exception of one small plantation which belonged to an independent 
proprietor whom we will name Lathrodacnus ; a man of no influonce iu 

Seciion 1— Essay l-t. 199 

the colony, tut much respected by Pamphilus, They were t deed rela- 
tions by blood originally, and afterwards by intermarriages ; and it was 
to the power and protection of Pamphilus that Lathrodacnus owed his 
independence and prosperity, amid the general distress and slaveiy of 
the other ])roprietors. Xot less fortimately did it happen, that the 
means of passing the river were possessed exclusively by Pamphilus and 
his above-mentioned kmsman ; and not only the boats themselves, but 
all the means of constructing and navigating them. As the verv exist- 
ence of Lathrodacnus, as an independent colonist, had no solid ground, 
but in the strength and prosperity of Pamphilus ; and as the interests 
of the one in no respect interfered with those of the other ; Pamphilus 
for a considerable time remained without any anxiety, and looked on the 
nver-craft of Lathrodacnus with as little alaiTU as on those of his own 
establishment. It did not disquiet him, that Lathrodacnus had re- 
mained neutral in the quarrel. Xay, though many advantages, which 
in peaceful times would have belonged to Pamphilus, were now trans- 
ferred to his neighbour, and had more than doubled the extent and 
profit of his concern, Pamphilus, instead of repining at this, was glad that 
some good at least to some one came out of the general evil. Great then 
was his surprise when he discovered, that \vithout any conceivable 
reason Lathrodacnus had employed himself in building and coUt'Cting 
a very unusual number of such boats as were of no use to him in his 
traffic, but designed exclusively as ferry-boats ; and what was still 
stranger and more alarming, that he chose to keep these in a bay on the 
other side of the river, opposite to the one small plantation, alongside 
of Pamphilus' estate, from which plantation Lathrodacnus derived the 
materials for building them. "Willing to believe this conduct a transient 
whim of his neighbour's, occasioned partly by his vanity, and partly by 
envy (to which latter passion the want of a liberal education, and the 
not sufficiently comprehending the grounds of his O'wn prosperity, had 
rendered him subject), Pan>philus contented himself for a while with 
urgent yet fiiendly remonstrances. The only answer which Lathro- 
dacntis vouchsafed to return was, that by the law of the colony, which 
Pamphilus had made so many professions of revering, every proprietor 
was an independent sovereign within his own boundaries ; that the 
boats were his own, and the ouposite shore, to which they were fastened, 
part of a field which belonged to him ; and, in short, that Pamphilus 
had no right to interfere with the management of his property, which, 
trifling as it might be, compared with that of Pamphilus, was no less 
sacred by the law of the colony. To this nncourteons rebuff, Pamphilus 
replied with a fervent wish, that Lathrodacnus conld with more pro- 
priety have appealed to a law, as still subsisting, which, he well knew, 
had been effectually annulled by the unexampled tyranny and success 
Dl Misetes, together with the circumstances which had given occasion to 

200 ne Friend. 

the law, and made it wise and practicable. He further urged, that thic 
kw was not made for the benefit of any one man, but for the commou 
eafety and advantage of all ; that it was absurd to suppose that either 
he (Pamphilus) or that Lathrodacnus himself, or any other proprietor, 
ever did or could acknowledge this law in the sense that it was to sur- 
vive the very circumstances of which it was the mere reflex. Much 
less could they Lave even tacitly assented to it, if they had ever under- 
stood it as authorizing one neighbour to endanger the absolute i"uii. of 
another, who had perhaps fifty times the property to lose, and perhaps 
ten times the number of souls to answer for, and yet forbidding the 
injured person to take any steps in his own defence ; and lastly, that 
this law gave no right without imposing a corresponding duty. There- 
fore, if Ijathrodacnus insisted on the rights given him by the law, he 
ought at the same time to perform the duties which it required, and 
join heart and hand with Pamphilus in bis endeavours to defend his 
independence, to restore the former state of the colony, and with this 
to re-enforce the old law in opposition to Misetes, who had enslaved 
the one and set at naught the other. So ardently was Pamphilus 
attached to the law, that excepting his own safety and independence 
there was no price which he would not pay, no sacrifice which he would 
not make, for its restoration. His reverence for the very memory of the 
law was such, that the mere appearance of ti'ansgressing it would be a 
heavy affliction to him. In the hope therefore of gaining from the 
avarice of Lathrodacnus that consent which he could not obtain from 
his justice or neighbourly kindness, he offered to give him in full right 
a plantation ten times the value of all his boats, and yet, whenever the 
colony should once more be settled, to restore the boats ; if he would 
only permit Pamphilus to secure them during the present state of 
things, on his side of the river, retaining whatever he really wanted for 
the passage of his own household. To all these persuasions and en- 
treaties Lathrodacnus turned a deaf ear ; and Pamphilus remained 
agitated and undetermined, till at length he received certain intelligence 
that Lathrodacnus had called a coimcil of the chief members of his esta- 
blishment, in consequence of the threats of Misetes, that he would treat 
him as the friend and ally of Pamphilus, if he did not declare himself 
his enemy. Partly for the sake of a large meadow belonging to him on 
the other side of the river which it was not easy to secure from the 
tyrant, but still more from envy and the irritable temper of a proud 
inferior, Lathrodacnus, and with him the majority of his advisers (though 
to the great discontent of the few wise heads among them), settled it 
finally that if he should be again pressed on this point by Misetes, he 
would join him and commence hostilities against his old neighbour and 
kinsman. It is indeed but too probable that he had long brooded ovei 
this scheme ; for to what other end could he have strained his income 

Section l.—JHssay 14. 201 

and overworked his servants in building and fitting uf such a number 
of passage-boats ? As soon as this information was received by Pain- 
philus, and this from a quarter which it was impossible for him to dis- 
credit, he obeyed the dictates of self-preservation, took possession of the 
passage-boats by force, and brought them over to his own grounds ; but 
without any further iajury to Lathrodacnus, and still urging him to 
accept a compensation and continue in that amity which was so mani- 
festly their common interest. Instantly a great outcry was raised against 
Pamphilus, who was charged in the bitterest terms with having first 
abused Misetes, and then imitated him in his worst acts of violence. 
In the calmness of a good conscience Pamphilus contented himself with 
the following reply ; " Even so, if 1 were out on a shooting party with a 
Quaker for my companion, and saw coming on towards us an old footpad 
and murderer, who had made known his intention of killing me wherever 
he might meet me : and if my companion the Quaker would neither 
give me up his gun, nor even discharge it as (we will suppose) I had 
just before unfortunately discharged my own ; if he woiild neither pro- 
mise to assist me nor even promise to make the least resistance to the 
robber's attempt to disarm himself ; you might call me a robber for 
wresting this gun from my companion, though for no other purpose but 
that I might at least do for myself what he ought to have done, 
but would not do either for or with me ! Even so, and as plausibly, 
you might exclaim, the hypocrite Pamphilus ! Who has not been 
deafened with his complaints against robbers and footpads? and lo! he 
himself has turned footpad, and commenced by robbing his peaceful 
and unsuspecting companion of his double-barrelled gun !" It is the 
business of The Friend to lay down principles, not to make the applications 
of them to particular, much less to recent cases. If any such there be 
to which these principles are fairly applicable, the reader is no less 
master of the facts than the writer of the present essay. If not, the 
principles remain ; and The Friend has finished the task which the plan 
of this work imposed on him, of proving the identity of international 
law and the law of morality in spirit, and the reasons of their difference 
in practice, in those extreme cases in which alone they have been 
allowed to differ. 


THE preceding essay has more than its natural interest for the author 
from the abuse which it brought down on him as the defender 
of the attack on Copenhagen, and the seizure of the Danish fleet. The 
odium of the measure rested wholly on the commencement of hostilities 
without a previous proclamation of war. Now it is remarkable, that in 
a work published many years before this event, Professor Beck had made 
this very pomt the subject of a particular chapter in his admirable 

502 The Friend. 

comments on the law of nations; and every one cf the circumstances 
stated by him as forming an exce[ition to the moral necessity of previous 
proclamation of war, concurred in the Copenhagen expedition. 1 need 
mention two only. First, by the act or acts, which provoked the ex- 
pedition, the party attacked had knowingly placed himself in a state of 
war. Let A stand for the Danish, B for the British, government. A 
had done that which he himself was fully aware would produce imme- 
diate hoatilities on the part of B, the moment it came to the knowledge 
of the latter. The act itself was a waging of war against B on tlie part 
of A. B therefore was the party attacked ; and common sense dictates, 
that to resist and baffle an aggression requires no proclamation to justify 
it. I perceive a dagger aimed at my back, in consequence of a warning 
given me, just time enough to prevent the blow, knock the assassin 
down, and disarm him; and he reproaches me with treachery, because 
forsooth I had not sent him a challenge ! Secondly, when the object 
which justifies and necessitates the war would be frustrated by the 
proclamation. For neither state or individual can be presumed to have 
given either a formal or a tacit assent to any such modification of a 
positive right, as would suspend and virtually annul the right itself; 
the right of self-preservation, for instance. This second exception will 
often depend on the existence of the first, and must always receive 
additional strength and clearness from it. That both of these exceptions 
appertain to the case in question, is now notorious. But at the time 
I found it necessary to publish the following comment, which I adapt 
to the present rifacciamento of The Friend, as illustrative of the funda- 
mental principle of public justice ; viz. that personal and national 
morality, ever one and the same, dictate the same measures under the 
same circumstances, and different measures only as far as the circum- 
stances are different. 

As my limits will not allow me to do more in the second, or ethical, 
section of The Friend, than to propose and develope my own system', 
without controverting the systems of others, I shall therefore devote 
tlie essay, which follows this postscript, to the consideration of the 
]ii'oblem : How far is the moral nature of an action constituted by its 
individual circumstances? 

It was once said to me, when the Copenhagen affair was in dispute, 
" You do not see the enormity, because it is an affair between state and 
state : conceive a similar case between man and man, and you would 
both see and abhor it." Now, I was neither defending or attacking the 
measure itself. My arguments were confined to the grounds which had 
been taken both in the arraigning of that measure and in its defence, 
because 1 thought both equally untenable. 1 was not enough master ot 
facts to form a decisive opinion on the enterprise, even for my own mind ; 
but I had no hesitation in affirming, that the principles, on which it 

Section 1. — Jlissay 14. 203 

was defended in the legislature, appeared to me fitter objects of indi^- 
aant reprobation than the act itself. This having been premised, 1 
replied to the assertion above stated, by asserting the direct contrary : 
namely, that were a similar case conceived between man and man, the 
severest arraigners of the measure, would, on their grounds, find nothing 
to blame in it. How was I to prove this assertion? Clearly, by 
imagining some case between individuals living in the same relations 
toward each other, in which the several states of Europe exist or existed. 
My allegory, therefore, so far from being a disguise, was a necessary part 
of the main argument, a case in point, to prove the identity of the law of 
nations with the law of conscience. We have only to conceive in- 
dividuals in the same relations as states, in order to learn that the rules 
emanating from international law differ from those of private honesty, 
solely through the difference of the circumstances. 

But why did not The Friend avow the application of the principle to 
the seizure of the Danish fleet ? Because I did not possess sufficient 
evidence to prove to others, or even to decide for myself, that my 
principle was applicable to this particular act. In the case of Pam- 
philus and Lathrodacnus, the prudence and necessity of the measure 
were certain ; and, this taken for granted, I showed its perfect rightful- 
ness. In the affair of Copenhagen I had no doubt of our right to do as 
we did, supposing the necessity, or at least the extreme prudence of the 
measure ; taking for granted that there existed a motive adequate to 
the action, and that the action was an adequate means of realizing the 

But this I was not authorized to take for granted in the real, as I had 
been in the imaginary case. I saw many reasons for the affirmative, 
and many for the negative. For the former, the certainty of an hostile 
design on the part of the Danes, the alarming state of Ireland, that 
vulnerable heel of the British Achilles! and the immense difference 
between military and naval superiority. Our naval power collectively 
might have defied that of the whole world ; but it was widely scattered, 
and a combined operation from the Baltic, Holland, Brest, and Lisbon, 
might easily bring together a fleet double to that which we could have 
brought against it during the short time that might be necessary to 
convey thirty or forty thousand men to Ireland. On the other hand, it 
8<?emed equally clear that Buonaparte needed sailors rather tlian ships; 
and that we took the ships and left him the Danish sailors, whose 
presence in the fleet at Antwerp turned the scale, perhaps, in fivour of 
the worse than disastrous expedition to AValcheren. 

But I repeat, that The Friend had no concern with the measure 
itself but only with the grounds or principles on which it had been 
attacked or defended. Those who attacked it declared that a right had 
been violated by us, and that no motive could justify such violation, 

204 The Friend. 

huwever imperious that motive might be. In opposition to such 
reasoners, I proved that no such right existed, or is deducible either 
from international law or the law of private morality. Those again who 
defended the seizure of the Danish fleet, conceded that it was a violation of 
right ; but affirmed, that such violation was justified by the urgency of the 
motive. It was asserted (as I have before noticed in the introduction to 
the subject) that national policy cannot in all cases be subordinated to 
the laws of morality ; in other words, that a government may act with 
injustice, and yet remain blameless. To prove this assertion as ground- 
less and unnecessary as it is tremendous, formed the chief object of the 
whole disquisition. I trust then, that my candid judges will rest 
satisfied that it is not only the profession and pretext of The Friend, but 
his constant plan and actual intention to establish principles ; that he 
refers to pai'ticular facts for no other purpose than that of giving illus- 
tration and interest to those principles ; and that to invent principles 
with a view to particular cases, whether with the motive of attacking 
or arraigning a transitory cabinet, is a baseness which will scarcely be 
attributed to The Friend by any one who understands the work, even 
though the suspicion should not have been precluded by a knowledge of 
the author. 


Ja, ich bin der Atheist und Gottlose, der einer imaginaren Berechnungslehre, elner blossen 
Kinbildung von allgemeinen Folgen, die nie folgen konnen, zuwider — liigen will, wie Desde- 
mona sterbend log; liigen und betriigen will, wie der iiir Orest sich darstellende Pylades; 
Tempelraub unternebmen, wie David; ja, Aehren ausraufen am Sabbatb, auch nur daruni, 
well mich hungert, nnd das Gesetz um des menschen wilUn gemacht ist, nicht der Mensch um 
des Gesetzes willen. 

{Translation.)— Yes, I am tbat Atheist, that godless person, who in opposition to an imagin- 
ary doctrine of calculation, to a mere ideal fabric of general consequences, that can never lie 
realized, would lie, as tlie dying Desdemona lied ;* lie and deceive as Pylades when he per- 
sonated Orestes; would commit sacrilege with David; yea, and pluck ears of com on the 
Sabbath, for no other reason than that 1 was fainting from lack of food, and that the law wa* 
made for man and not man for the law. Jacobi's Letter to Fichte. 

IF there be no better doctrine, I would add ! — Much and often have I 
suffered from having ventured to avow my doubts concerning the 
truth of certain opinions, which had been sanctified in the minds of my 
hearers, by the authority of some reigning great name ; even though in 

* Emilia.— Oh who hath done Emilia. — She said so. I must needs r^ 

riiisdeed? port the truth. 

/itsd.—Soho^y. I myself. Farewell. ' tkello. -She's like a liar gone to bnTflir.i 

Conimend me to my kind Lord— O— faro- hell ! 

well. ' T was 1 that killed her! 

Othello. — You heard her say yourself, it Fmilia, — The more angel she ! 

vas not I. OiHELLo, Act 5, Sc 1 

Section l.—£j8say 15. 205 

addition to my own reasons, '^ had all the greatest names irom the 
Heformation to the Eevoliition on my side. I could not, therefore, 
summon courage, without some previous pioneering, to declare publicly, 
that the principles of morality taught in the present work will he in 
direct opposition to the system of the late Dr. Paley. This confession 
I should have deferred to a future time, if my opinions on the groiinds 
of international morality had not been contradictory to a fundamental 
point in Paley's System of moral and political philosophy. I mean that 
chapter which treats of general consequences, as the chief and best 
criterion of the right or wrong of particular actions. Now this doctrine 
I conceive to be neither tenable in reason nor safe in practice ; and the 
following are the groimds of my opinion. 

First : this criterion is purely ideal, and so far possesses no advantages 
over the former systems of morality ; while it labours under defects 
with which those are not justly chargeable. It is ideal ; for it depends 
on, and must vary with, the notions of the individual, who in order to 
determine the nature of an action is to make the calculation of its 
general consequences. Here, as in all other calculation, the result 
depends on that facility of the soul in the degi'ees of which men most 
vary from each other, and which is itself most affected by accidental 
advantages or disadvantages of education, natural talent, and acquired 
knowledge — the faculty, I mean, of foresight and systematic compre- 
hension. But surely morality, which is of equal importance to all men, 
ought to be grounded, if possible, in that part of our nature which in 
all men may and ought to be the same : in the conscience and the 
common sense. Secondly : this criterion confounds morality with law ; 
and when the aiithor adds, that in all probability the Divine justice 
will be regulated in the final judgment by a similar rule, he draws 
away the attention from the will, that is, from the inward motives and 
impulses which constitute the essence of morality, to the outward act ; 
and thus changes the virtue commanded by the gospel into the mere 
legality which was to be enlivened by it. One of the most persuasive, 
if not one of the strongest, arguments for a future state, rests on the 
belief, that although by the necessity of things our outward and tem- 
poral welfare must be regulated by our outward actions, which alone 
can be the objects and guides of human law, there must yet needs come 
a juster and more appropriate sentence hereafter, in which our inten- 
tions will be considered, and our happiness and misery made to accord 
with the grounds of our actions. Our fellow-creatures can only judge 
Avhat we are by what we do ; but in the eye of our Maker what we do ia 
of no worth, except as it flows from what we are. Though the fig-tree 
should produce no visible fruit, yet if the living sap is in it, and if it has 
Btruffo^led to put forth buds and blossoms which have been prevented from 
maturinfT by inevitable contingencies of tempests or untimely frosts, th« 

206 The Friend 

virtuous sap will be accounted as fruit : and the carse of baiTennfSs 
will light on many a tree, from the boughs ofvvlich hundreds have 
been satisfied, because the omniscient Judge knows that the fruits 
were threaded to the boughs artificially by the outward working of base 
fear and selfish hopes, and were neither nourished by the love of God or 
of man, nor grew out of the graces engrafted on the stock by religion. 
This is not, indeed, all that is meant in the Apostle's use of the word, 
faith, as the sole principle of justification, but it is included in his 
meaning and forms au essential part of it; and I can conceive nothing 
more groundless, than the alarm, that this doctrine may be prejudicial 
to outward utility and active well-doing. To suppose that a man 
should cease to be beneficent by becoming benevolent, seems to me 
scarcely less absurd than to fear that a fire may prevent heat, or that a 
perennial fountain may ])rove the occasion of drought. Just and 
generous actions may proceed from bad motives, and both may, and 
often do, originate in parts and as it were fragments of our nature. A 
lascivious man may sacrifice half his estate to rescue his friend from 
prison, for he is constitutionally sympathetic, and the better part of his 
nature happened to be uppermost. The same man shall afterwards 
exert the same disregard of money in an attempt to seduce that friend's 
wife or daughter. But faith is a total act of the soul ; it is the whole 
state of the mind, or it is not at all ; and in this consists its power as 
well as its exclusive worth. 

This subject is of such immense importance to the welfare of all men, 
and the understanding of it to the present tranquillity of many thousands 
at this time and in this country, that should there be one only of all my 
readers who should receive conviction or an additional light from what 
is here written, I dare hope that a great majority of the rest would in 
consideration of that solitary effect think these paragraphs neither wholly 
uninteresting or altogether without value. Fa- this ciuse I will 
endeavour so to explain this principle that it may be intelligible to the 
simplest capacity. The Apostle tells those who would substitute obedi- 
ence for faith (addressing the man as obedience personified) Etmw that 
thou hearest not the root, hut the root thee * — a sentence which, me- 
thinks, should have rendered all disputes concerning faith and good works 
impossible among those who profess to take the Scriptures for their guide. 
It would appear incredible, if the fact were not notorious, that two sects 
should ground and justify their opposition to each other, the one on the 
words of the Apostle, that we are justified by faith, i. e. the inward and 
absolute ground of our actions ; and the other ou the declaration of 
Christ, that He will judge us according to our actions. As if an action 
could be either good or bad disjointed from its principle ! as if it could 
be, iu the Christian and only proper sense of the word, an action at all 
• Eom. xi 18, 

Section I.— Essay 15. 207 

find not rather i mechanic series of lucky or unlucky motiona ! Yet it 
may be well worth the while to show the beauty and harmony of these 
twin truths, or rather of this one great tmth copsidered in its two prin- 
cipal bearings. God will judge each man before all men ; consequently 
He will judge us relatively to man. But man knows not the heart of 
man ; scarcely does any one know his own. There must therefore be 
outward and visible signs, by which men may be able to judge of the 
inward state ; and thereby justify the ways of God to their cwn spirits, 
in the reward or punishment of themselves and their fellow-men. Kow 
good works are these signs, and as such become necessary. In short 
there are two parties, God and the human race ; and both are to be 
satisfied ! first, God, who seeth the root and knoweth the heart : therefore 
there must be faith, or the entire and absolute principle. Then man, 
who can judge only by the fruits : therefore that faith must bear fruits 
of righteousness, that principle must manifest itself by actions. But 
that which God sees, that alone justifies ! What man sees, does in this 
life show that the justifying principle may be the root of the thing seen ; 
but in the final judgment the acceptance of these actions will show, that 
this principle actually was the root. In this world a good life is a ]ire- 
sumption of a good man ; his virtuous actions are the only possible, 
though still ambiguous, manifestations of his virtue ; but the absence of 
a good life is not only a presumption, but a proof of the contrary as long 
as it continues. Good works may exist without saving principles, and 
therefore cannot contain in themselves the principle of salvation ; but 
saving principles never did, never can, exist without good works. On a 
subject of such infinite importance, I have feared prolixity less than 
obscurity. Men often talk against faith, and make strange monsters in 
their imagination of those who profess to abide by the words of the 
Apostle interpreted literally ; and yet in their ordinary feelings they 
themselves judge and act by a similar principle. For what is love 
without kind offices, wherever they are possible ? (and they are always 
imssible, if not by actions commonly so called, yet by kind words, by 
kind looks ; and, where even these are out of our power, by kind thoughts 
and fervent prayers !) yet what noble mind would not be offended, if he 
were supposed to value the serviceable offices equally with the love that 
produced them ; or if he were thought to value the love for the sake of 
the services, and not the services for the sake of the love? 

1 return to the question of general consequences, considered as che 
criWion of moral actions. The admirer of Paley's system is required to 
suspend for a short time the objection which, I doubt not, he has 
already made, that general consequences are stated by Palcy as the 
criterion of the action, not of the agent. I will endeavour to satisfy him 
on this point, when I have completed my present chain of argiim/^nt. It 
has been sliown, that this criterion is no less ideal than tha/ of an* 

208 TJie Friend. 

former system ; that is, it is no less incapable of receiving any external: 
experimental proof, compulsory on the understandings of all men, such 
as the criteria exhibited in chemistry. Yet, unlike the elder systems oi 
morality, it remains in the world of the senses, without deriving any 
evidence therefrom. The agent's mind is compelled to go out of itself 
in order to bring back conjectures, the probability of which will vary 
with the shrewdness of the individual. But this criterion is not only 
ideal, it is likewise imaginary. If we believe in a scheme of Providence, 
all actions alike work for good. There is not the least ground for 
supposing that the crimes of Nero were less instrumental in bringing 
about our present advantages than the virtues of the Antonines. Lastly 
the criterion is either nugatory or false. It is demonstrated, that the 
only re-al consequences cannot be meant. The individual is to imagine 
what the general consequences would be, all other things remaining the 
same, if all men were to act as he is about to act. I scarcely need 
I'emind the reader, what a source of self-delusion and sophistry is here 
oj^en to a mind in a state of temptation. WiA it n ,t say to itself, I 
know that all men will not act so ; and the immediate good consequences, 
which I shall obtain, are real, while the bad consequences are imaginary 
and improbable? When the foundations of morality have once been 
laid in outward consequences, it will be in vain to recall to the mind 
what the consequences would be, were all men to reason in the same 
way ; for the very excuse of this mind to itself is, that neither its action 
nor its reasoning is likely to have any consequences at all, its immediate 
object excejited. But suppose the mind in its sanest state. How can it 
possibly form a notion of the nature of an action considered as indefinitely 
multiplied, unless it has previously a distinct notion of the nature 
of the single action itself, which is the multiplicand? If I conceive a 
crown multiplied a hundred fold, the single crown enables me to under- 
stand what a hundred crowns are ; but how can the notion hundred teach 
me what a crown is ? For the crown substitute X. Y. or abracadabra, 
ana my imagination may multiply it to infinity, yet remain as much at 
a loss as before. But if there be any means of ascertaining the action in 
and for itself, what further do we want ? Would we give light to the 
sun, or look at our own fingers through a telescope ? The nature of every 
action is determined by all its circumstances ; alter the circumstances 
and a similar set of motions may be repeated, but they are no longer the 
same or a similar action. What would a surgeon say if he were advised 
not to cut off a limb, because if all men were to do the same the conse- 
quences would be dreadful? Would not his answer be — " Whoevei 
does the same under the same circumstances, and with the same motives, 
will do right ; but if the circumstances and motives are different, what 
have I to do with it?" I confess myself unable to divine any possible 
ufle, or even meaning, in this doctrine of general consequences, unless it 

Section I. ^ Essay 15. 209 

be, that in all our actions we are bi)uiid to consider the effect of our 
example, and to guard as much as iiossible against the hazard of their 
being misunderstood. I will not slau-iiter a lamb, or drown a litter of 
kittens in the presence of my child of four years old, because the child 
cannot understand my action, but will understand that his father has 
inflicted pain upon, and taken away life from, beings that had never 
oH'ended him. All this is true, and no man in his senses ever thought 
otherwise. But methinl^s it is strange to state that as a criterion of mora- 
lity which is no more than an accessary aggravation of an action bad in its 
own nature, or a ground of caution as to the mode and time in which we 
are to do or suspend what is in itself good or innocent. 

The duty of setting a good example is no doubt a most importan. 
duty ; but the example is good or bad, necessary or unnecessary, accord* 
ing as the action may be which has a chance of being imitated. I once 
knew a email, but (in outward circumstances at least) respectable con- 
gregation, four-fifths of wliom professed that they went to church entii-ely 
for the example's sake ; in other words, to cheat each other and act a 
cumnion lie ! These rational Christians had not considered that example 
may increase the good or evil of an action, but dan never constitute 
either. If it was a foolish thing to kneel when they were not inwardly 
praying, or to sit and listen to a discourse of which they believed little 
and cared nothing, they were setting a foolish example. Persons in their 
respectable circumstances do not think it necessary to clean shoes, that 
by their example they may encourage the shoe-black in continuing his 
occupation ; and Christianity does not think so meanly of herself as to 
fear that the poor and afflicted will be a whit the less pious, though they 
should see reason to believe that those who possessed the good things of 
the present life, were determined to leave all the blessings of the future 
for their more humble inferiors. If I have spoken with bitterness let it 
be recollected that my subject is hypocrisy. 

It is likewise fit, that in all our actions we should have considered 
how far they are likely to be misunderstood, and from superficial resem- 
blances to be confounded with, and so appear to authorize, actions of a 
very different character. But if this caution be intended for a moral 
rule, the misunderstanding must be such as might be made by persons 
who are neither very weak nor very wicked. The apparent resemblances 
between the good action we were about to do and the bad one which 
might possibly be done in mistaken imitation of it, must be obvious ; or 
that which makes them essentially different, must be subtle or recondite. 
For what is there which a wicked man blinded by his passions may not, 
and which a madman will not, misunderstand ? It is ridiculous to frame 
rules of morality with a view to those who are fit objects only for the 
physician or the magistrate. 

The (luestion may be thus ilustrated. At Florence there is an uu- 

210 The Friend. 

finished bust of Brutus, by Michael Angelo, under which a Curdiiial 
wrote the following distich : — 

Dum Bruti efBgiem sculptor de marmore finxit, 
In mentem sceleris venit, et abstinuit. 
Ai the sculptor wo,s fwming the effigy of Brutus in marble, he recoUeited his aa of guilt 
and refrained. 

An English Nobleman, indignant at this distich, wrote immediately 
under it the following ; — 

Bnitum efSnxisset sculptor, sed mente recursat 
Multa viri virtus ; sistit et obstupuit. 
Ths sculptw wmdd have framed a Brutus, but tlte vast and manifold virtue, of the, man 
flashed upon his thought : he stopped and remained in astonished admiration. 

Now which is the nobler and more moral sentiment, the Italian Car 
dinal's or the English Nobleman's ? The Cardinal would appeal to the 
doctrine of general consequences, and pronounce the death of Ceesar a 
murder, and Brutus an assassin. For (he would say) if one man may be 
allowed to kill another because he thinks him a tyrant, religious or poli 
tical frenzy may stamp the name of tyrant on the best of kings ; regi- 
cide will be justified under the pretence of tyrannicide, and Brutus be 
quoted as authority for the Clements and Ravaillacs. From kings it 
may pass to generals and statesmen, and from these to any man whom 
an enemy or enthusiast may pronounce unfit to live. Thus we may 
have a cobbler of Messina in every city, and bravos in our streets as 
common as in those of Naples, with the name Brutus on their stilettOii. 

The Englishman would commence his answer by commenting on the 
words "because he thinks him a tyrant." No! he would reply, not 
because the patriot thinks him a tyrant ; but because he knows him to 
be so, and knows likewise that the vilest of his slaves cannot deny the 
fact, that he has by violence raised himself above the laws of his 
country, because he knows that all good and wise men equally with 
himself abhor the fact ! If there be no such state as that of being broad 
awake, or no means of distinguishing it when it exists ; if because men 
sometimes dream that they are awake, it must follow that no man, when 
awake, can be sure that he is not dreaming ; if because an hypochon- 
driae is positive that his legs are cylinders of glass, all other men are to 
learn modesty, and cease to be so positive that their legs are legs ; what 
possible advantage can your criterion of general consequences possess 
over any other rule of direction ? If no man can be sure that what he 
thinks a robber with a pistol at his breast demanding his purse, may 
not be a good friend inquiring after his health ; or that a tyrant (the 
son of a cobbler perhaps, who at the head of a regiment of perjured 
traitors, has driven the representatives of his country out of the senate 
it the point of the bayonet, subverted the constitution which had' 
trusted, enriched, and honoured iiim, trampled on the laws which before 

Section 1. — Essay 15. 211 

God iiud man he had sworn to obey, and finally raised himself above 
all law) may not, in spite of his own and his neighbours' knowledge of 
the contrary be a lawful king, who has received his power, however des- 
potic it may be, from the kings his ancestors, who exercises no other 
power than what had bepn submitted to for centuries, and been acknow- 
ledged as the law of the country ; on what ground can you possibly ex- 
pect less fallibility, or a result more to be i-elied upon in the same man's 
calculation of your general consequences? Would he, at least, find any 
difficulty in converting your criterion into an authority for his act ? 
What should prevent a man, whose perceptions and judgments are so 
strangely distorted, from arguing, that nothing is more devoutly to bo 
wished for, as a general consequence, than that every man, who by vio- 
lence places himself above the laws of his country, should in all ages 
and nations be considered by mankind as placed by his own act out of 
the protection of law, and be treated by them as any other noxious wild 
beast would be? Do you think it necessary to try adders by a jury? 
Do you hesitate to shoot a mad dog, because it is not in your power to 
have him first tried and condemned at the Old Bailey ? On the other 
hand, what consequence can be conceived more detestable, than one 
which would set a bounty on the most enormous crime in human 
nature, and establish it as a law of religion and morality that the accom- 
plishment of the most atrocious guilt invests the perpeti'ator with im- 
punity, and renders his person for ever sacred and inviolable ? For 
madmen and enthusiasts what avail your moral criterions ? But as to 
your Neapolitan bravos, if the act of Brutus who 

In pity to the general wrong of Rome, 
Slew his best lover for the good of Rome, 

authorized by the laws of his country, in manifest opposition to all 
seltish interests, in the face of the Senate, and instantly presenting him- 
self and his cause first to that Senate, and then to the assembled Com- 
mons, by them to stand acquitted or condemned— if such an act as this, 
with all its vast out-jutting circumstances of distinction, can be con- 
founded by any mind, not frantic, with the crime of a cowardly skulking 
assassin who hires out his dagger for a few crowns to gratify a hatred 
not his own, or even with the deed of that man who makes a compro- 
mise between his revenge and his cowardice, and stabs in the dark the 
enemy whom he dared not meet in the open field, or summon before 
the laws of his country— what actions can be so different, that they may 
not be equally confounded? The ambushed soldier must not fire his 
musket, lest his example should be quoted by the villain who, to make 
sure of his booty, discharges his piece at the unsuspicious passenger from 
behind a hed^e. The physician must not administer a solution oi 
arsenic to the leprous, lest his example should be quoted by professional 
iwisoners If no distinction, full and satisfactory to the conscience aui- 

212 The Friend. 

common sense of mankind be afforded by the detestation and horror ex- 
cited in all men (even in ths meanest arwi most vicious, if they are not 
wholly monsters), by the act of the assassin, contrasted with the fervent 
admiration felt by the good and wise in all ages when they mention the 
name of Brutus ; contrasted with the fact that the honour or disrespect 
with which that name was spoken of, became an historic critericm of a 
noble or a base age ; and if it is in vain that our own hearts answer to 
the question of the Poet — 

Js there among the adamantine spheres 

Wheeling unshaken through the boundless voi<l. 

Aught that with half such majesty can fill 

The human bosom, as when lirutus rose 

Refulgent from the stroke of Caesar's fate 

Amid the crowd of patriots ; and his arm 

Aloft extending, lilje eternal Jove, 

When guilt brings down the thunder, called alotid 

On TuUy's nam?, and shook his crimson sword. 

And bade the father of his country hail ! 

For lo the Tyrant prostrate on the dust. 

And Rome again is free ! Akekside. 

If, I say, all this be fallacious and insufficient, can we have any firinei 
reliance on a cold ideal calculation of imaginary general consequences, 
which, if they were general, could not be consequences at all ; for they 
would be effects of the frenzy or frenzied wickedness, which alone could 
confound actions so utterly dissimilar ? No ! (would the ennobled, de- 
scendant of our Russells or Sitlneys conclude) — No ! Calumnious bigot! 
never yet did a human being become an assassin from his own or the 
general admiration of the hero Brutus ; but I dare not warrant, that 
villains might not be encouraged in their trade of secret murder, by 
finding their own guilt atti-ibuted to the Eoman patriot, and might not 
conclude, that if Brutus be no better than an assassin, an assassin can be 
no worse than Brutus. 

I request, that the preceding be not interpreted as my own judgment 
on tyrannicide. I think with Machiavel and with Spinosa, for manv 
and weighty reasons assigned by those philosophers, that it is difficult 
to conceive a case in which a good man would attempt tyrannicide, be- 
cause it is difficult to conceive one in which a wise man would recom- 
mend it. In a small state, included within the walls of a single city, 
and where the tyranny is maintained by foreign guards, it may be 
otherwise ; but in a nation or empire it is perhaps inconceivable, that 
the circumstances which made a tyranny possible should not likewise 
render the removal of the tyrant useless. The patriot's sword may cut 
off the Hydra's head ; but he possesses no brand to stanch the active 
corruption of the body, which is sure to reproduce a successor. 

I must now in a few words answer the objection to the former part 
of my argument (for to that part only the objection applies), namely 

Section 1. — Essay 16. 213 

that the ooctrine of general consequences was stated as the criterion of 
the action, not of the agent. I miglit anewer. that the author hiroself 
had in some measure justified me in not noticing this distinction, by 
holding forth the probability that the Supreme Judge will proceed by 
the same rule. The agent may then safely be included in the action, ii 
both here and hereafter the action only and its general consequences will 
be attended to. But my main ground of justification is, that the dis- 
tinction itself is merely logical, not real and vital. The character of the 
agent is determined by his view of the action ; and that system of mora- 
lity is alone true and suited to human nature which unites the intention 
and the motive, the warmth and the light, in one and the same act of 
mind. This alone is worthy to be called a moral princij^le. Such a 
principle may be extracted, though not without difficulty and danger, 
from the ore of the stoic philosophy ; but it is to be found unalloyed and 
entire in the Christian system, and is there called Faith. 


The following Address was delivered at Bristol, in the year 1795. 
The only omissions regai'd the names of persons ; and I insert them here 
ia support of the assertion made by me at the beginning of Essay YI. 
of this section, and because this very lecture has been referred to in an 
infamous libel in proof of the author's former Jacobinism. Difi"erent as 
my present convictions are on the subject of philosophical necessity, I 
have for this reason left the last page unaltered. 

'Aei yap ttjs eXeuflepuis ei^t'efiaf ttoXXo. 8e ev Kcu TOtg 'jn.XiKevBipoi.'; m^kjtjtix, avreAevSepa. 
(Trandation.') — For I am always a lover of liberty ; but in those wlio -sronld appropriate, 
the title. I find too many points destructive of liberty and hateful to her genuine advocates. 

COMPANIES resembling the present will, from a variety of circum- 
stances, consist chiefi}' of the zealous advocates for freedom. It will 
therefore be our endeavour, not so much to excite the torpid, as to regu- 
late the feelings of the ardent ; and above all, to evince the necessity of 
bottoming on" fixed principles, that so we may not be the unstable 
patriots of passion or accident, nor hurried away by names of which we 
have not sifted the meaning, and by tei^ets of which we have not exa- 
mined the consequences. The times are trying; and in order to be 
prepared against their difficulties, we should have acquired a prompt 
facility of adverting in all our doubts to some grand and comprehensive 
trath. In a deep and strong soil must that tree fix its roots, the height of 
which is to " reach to heaven, and the si^ht of it to the ends of all the 

iiU The Jf'riend. 

'I'he example of France is indeed a warning to Britain. A ration 
wading to their rights through blood, and maiking the track of fieedom 
hy devastation ! Yet let us not embattle our feelings against our reason. 
Let us not indulge our malignant passions under the mask of humanity. 
Instead of railing with infuriate declamation against these excesses, we 
shall be more profitably employed in developing the sources of them. 
Fi-ench freedom is the beacon which if it guides to equality should show 
us likewise the dangers that throng the road. 

The annals of the French Revolution have recorded in letters of Llooil, 
that the knowledge of the few cannot counteract the ignorance of the 
many ; that the light of philosophy, when it is confined to a small 
minority, points out the possessors as the victims, rather than the illu- 
minators, of the multitude. The patriots of P'rance either hastened 
into the dangerous and gigantic error of making certain evil the means 
of contingent good, or Avere sacrificed by the mob, with whose prejudices 
and ferocity their rmbending virtue forbade them to assimilate. Like 
Samson, the people were strong — like Samson, the people were blind. 
Those two massy pillars of the temple of oppression, their monarchy and 
aristocracy — 

With horrible convulsion to and fro 

They tugged, they shoolc — till down they came and drew 

The whole roof after them w ith burst of thunder 

Upon the heads of all who sat beneath, 

Lords, ladies, captains, counsellors, and priests. 

Their choice nobility ! Milton, Sam. Agon. 

The Girondists, who were the first republicans in power, were men of 
enlarged views and great literary attainments ; but they seem to have 
been deficient in that vigour and daring activity which circumstances 
made necessary. Men of genius are rarely either prompt in action or 
consistent in general conduct. Their early habits have been those of 
contemplative indolence ; and the day-dreams, with which they have 
been accustomed to amuse their solitude, adapt them for splendid specu- 
lation, not temperate and practicable counsels. Brissot, the leader of 
the Gironde party, is entitled to the character of a virtuous man, and 
an eloquent speaker ; but he was rather a sublime visionary than a 
quick-eyed politician ; and his excellences equally with his faults 
rendered him unfit for the helm in tlie stormy hour of Revolution. 
Kolxvspierre, who disj.laced him, possessed a glowing ardour that still 
remembered the end, and a cool ferocity that never either overlooked or 
scrupled the means. What that end was, is not known ; that it was a 
wicked one, has by no means been proved. I T-Ather think, that the 
distant prospect, to which he was travelling, appeared to him grand and 
beautiful ; but that he fixed his eye on it with such intense eagerness aa 
to neslnct the foulness of the road. If however his first intentions were 


Section 1 . — Essay 16. 215 

pure, his subsequent enormities yield us a melancholy proof, that it is 
not the character of the possessor which directs the power, but the 
power which shapes and depraves the character of the possessor. 
In Eobespierre, its influence was assisted by the properties of his 
disposition. Enthusiasm, even in the gentlest temper, will fre- 
quently generate sensations of an unkindly order. If we clearly 
perceive any one thing to be of vast and infinite importance to our- 
selves and all mankind, our first feelings impel us to turn with 
angry contempt from those who doubt and oppose it. The ardour 
of undisciplined benevolence seduces us into malignity ; and when- 
ever our hearts are warm, and our objects great and excellent, intolerance 
is the sin that does most easily beset us. But this enthusiasm in Eobes- 
pierre was blended with gloom, and suspiciousness, and inordinate vanity. 
His dark imagination was still brooding over supposed plots against 
treedom — to prevent tyranny he became a tyrant ; and having realized 
the evils which he suspected, a wild and dreadful tyrant. Those loud- 
tongued adulators, the mob, overpowered the lone-whispered denuncia- 
tions of conscience ; he despotized in all the pomp of patriotism, and 
i;nasqueraded on the bloody stage of revolution, a Caligula with the cap 
of liberty on his head. 

It has been aflarmed, and I believe with truth, that the system of 
terrorism, by suspending the struggles of contrariant factions, communi- 
cated an energy to the operations of the republic which had been 
hitherto unknown, and without which it could not have been preserved. 
The system depended for its existence on the general sense of its neces- 
sity, and when it had answered its end, it was soon destroyed by the 
same power that had given it birth — popular opinion. It must not 
however be disguised, that at all times, but more especially when the 
public feelings are wavy and tumultuous, artful demagogues may create 
this opinion ; and they, who are inclined to tolerate evil as the means of 
contingent good, should reflect, that if the excesses of terrorism gave to 
the republic that eiEciency and repulsive force which its cii-cumstances 
made necessary, they likewise afforded to the hostile courts the most 
powerful support, and excited that indignation and horror which every- 
where precipitated the subject into the designs of the ruler. Nor let it 
be forgotten that these excesses perpetuated the war in La Vendue and 
made it more terrible, both by the accession of numerous partizans, who 
had fled from the persecution of Eobespierre, and by inspiring the 
Chouans with fresh fury, and an unsubmitting spirit of revenge and 

Eevolutions are sudden to the unthinking only. Political disturbances 
happen not without their warning harbingers. Strange rumblings and 
tonfuaed noises still precede these earthquakes and hurricanes of the 

216 The Friend. 

moral world. The process of revolution in France Las been dreadful 
and should incife us to examine with an anxious eye the motives and 
manners of those whose conduct and opinions seem calculated to for- 
ward a similar event in our own country. The oppositionists to " things 
as they are" are divided into many and different classes. To delineate 
them with an unflattering accuracy may be a delicate but it is a neces- 
sary task, in order that we may enlighten, or at least be aware of the 
misguided men who have enlisted under the banners of liberty, from no 
principles or with bad ones : whether they be those, who 

admire they know uot what, 
And know not whom, but as one leads to the other : 

or whether those 

■^Tiose end is private hate, not help to freedom, 
Adverse and turbulent when she would lead 
To virtue. 


The majority of democrats appear to me to have attained that portion 
of knowledge in politics which infidels possess in religion. I would by 
no means be supposed to imply that the objections of both are equally 
unfounded, but that they both attribute to the system which they reject 
all the evils existing under it ; and that both contemplating truth and 
justice " in the nakedness of abstraction," condemn constitution's and 
dispensations without having sufficiently examined the natures, circum- 
stances, and capacities of their recipients. 

The first class among the professed friends of liberty is composed of 
men, who unaccustomed to the labour of thorough investigation, and 
not particularly oppressed by the burdens of state, are yet impelled by 
their feelings to disapprove of its grosser depravities, nnd prepared to 
give an indolent vote in favour of reform. Their sensibilities unbraced 
by the co-operation of fixed princi[)les, they offer no sacrifices to the 
divinity of active virtue. Their political opinions depend with weather- 
cock uncertainty on the winds of rumour that blow from France. On 
the report of French victories they blaze into republicanism, at a tale of 
French excesses they darken into aristocrats. These dough-baked 
patriots are not however useless. This oscillation of political opinion 
will retard the day of revolution, and it will operate as a preventive to 
its excesses. Indecisivencss of character, though the effect of timidity, 
is almost always associated with benevolence. 

Wilder features characterize the second class, SufSciently possessed 
of natural sense to despise the priest, and of natural feeling to hate tlie 
oppressor, they listen only to the inflammatory harangues of some mad- 
headed enthusiast, and imbibe from them poison, not food ; rage, not 
liberty. Unillumined by philosophy, and stimulated to a lust of re- 
venge by aggravated wrongs, they would make the altar of freedom 

Section 1. — Essay 16. 217 

stream with blood, while the grass grew in the desolated halls oi 

We contemplate those principles with horror. Yet they possess a 
kind of wild justice well calculated to spread them among the gi'ossly 
ignorant. To unenlightened minds there are terrible charms in the 
idea of retribution, however savagely it be inculcated. The groans of 
the oppressors make fearful yet pleasant music to the ear of him whose 
mind is darkness, and into whose soul the iron has entered. 

This class, at present, is comparatively small ; yet soon to form an 
overwhelming majority, unless great and immediate efforts are used to 
lessen th^ intolerable grievances of our poor brethren, and infuse into 
their so^-ely wounded hearts the healing qualities of knowledge. For 
can we wonder that men should want humanity, who want all the cir- 
cumstances of life that humanize ? Can we wonder that with the 
ignorance of brutes they should unite their ferocity ? Peace and com- 
fort be with these ! But let us shudder to hear from men of dissimilar 
opportunities sentiments of similar revengefulness. The purifying 
ilchemy of education may transmute the fierceness of an ignorant man 
into virtuous energy ; but what remedy shall we apply to him, whom 
plenty has not softened, whom knowledge has not taught benevolence ? 
This is one among the many fatal effects which result from the want of 
fixed principles. 

There is a third class among the friends of freedom who possess not 
the wavering character of the first description, nor the ferocity last de- 
lineated. They pursue the interests of freedom steadily, but with narrow 
and self-centring views : they anticipate with exultation the abolition 
of privileged orders, and of acts that persecute by exclusion from the 
right of citizenship. They are prepared to join in digging up the rub- 
bish of mouldering establishments, and stripping off the tawdry pageantry 
of governments. Whatever is above them they are most willing to drag 
down ; but every proposed alteration that would elevate the ranks of 
our poorer brethren they regard with suspicious jealousy, as the dreams 
of the visionary ; as if there were anything in the superiority of lord to 
gentleman, so mortifying in the barrier, so fatal to happiness in the 
consequences, as the more real distinction of master and servant, of rich 
man and of poor. Wherein am I made worse by my ennobled neighbour ? 
Do the childish titles of aristocracy detract from my domestic comforts, 
or prevent my intellectual acquisitions? But those institutions of 
society which should condemn me to the necessity of twelve hours' daily 
toil, would make my soul a slave, and sink the rational being in the 
mere animal. It is a mockery of our fellow-creatures' wrongs to call 
them equal in rights, when, by the bitter compulsion of their wants, we 
make them inferior to us in all that can soften the heart or dignify the 

218 The Friend. 

anderstanding. Let us not say that this is the work of time, that it is 
impracticable at present, unless we each in our individual capacities do 
strenuously and perseveringly endeavour to diffuse among our domestics 
those comforts and that illumination which far beyond all political ordi- 
nances are the true equalizers of men. 

We turn with pleasure to the contemplation of that small but glorious 
band, whom we may truly distinguish by the name of thinking and 
disinterested patriots. These are the men who have encouraged the 
sympathetic passions till they have become irresistible habits, and made 
their duty a necessary part of their self-interest, by the long-continued 
cultivation of that moral taste which derives our most exquisite pleasures 
from the contemplation of possible perfection, and proportionate pain 
from the perception of existing depravity. Accustomed to regard all 
the affairs of man as a process, they never hurry and they never pause. 
Theirs is not that twilight of political knowledge which gives us just 
light enough to place one foot before the other ; as they advance the 
scene still opens upon them, and they press right onward with a vast arid 
various landscape of existence around them. Calmness and energy mark 
all their actions. Convinced that vice originates not in the man, but in 
the surrounding circumstances ; not in the heart, but in the understand- 
ing ; he is hopeless concerning no one ; — to correct a vice or generate a 
virtuous conduct he pollutes not his hands with the scourge of coercion ; 
but by endeavouring to alter the circumstances would remove, or by 
strengthening the intellect disarm, the temptation. The unhappy 
children of vice and folly, whose tempers are adverse to their own happi- 
ness as well as to the happiness of others, will at times awaken a natural 
pang ; but he looks forward with gladdened heart to that glorious period 
when justice shall have established the universal fraternity of love. 
These soul-ennobling views bestow the virtues which they anticipate. 
He whose mind is habitually impressed with them soars above the present 
state of humanitj^ and may be justly said to dwell in the presence of 
the Most High. 

Would the forms 
Jtf servile custom cramp the patriot's power? - 
Would sordid policies, the barbarous growth 
Of ignorance and rapine, bow him down 
To tame pursuits, lo indolence and fear? 
Lo ! he appeals to nature, to the winds 
And rolling waves, the sun's unwearied course, 
The elements and seasons— all declare 
For what the Eternal Maker has ordained 
'J'he powers of man : we feel within ourselves 
His energy divine ; He tells the heart 
He meant. He made lis to behold and love 
What He beholds and loves, the general oib 
Of life and being — to be great lllte Him, 
Beneficent and active. Akbksidb. 

Section 1. — Essay 16. 219 

That general illumination should precede revolution is a truth as 
-)hvious, as that the vessel should he cleansed before we fill it with a 
puifi hquor. But the mode of ciffusing it is not discoverable with equal 
facility. We certainly should never attempt to make proselytes by ap 
peals to the selfish feelings ; and consequently, should plead for the 
oppressed, not to them. The author of an essay on political justice con- 
siders private societies as the sphere of real utility — that (each one illu- 
minating those immediately beneath him) truth, by a gradual descent, 
may at last reach the lowest order. But this is rather plausible than 
just or practicable. Society as at present constituted does not resemble 
a chain that ascends in a continuity of links. Alas! between the par- 
lour and the kitchen, the cofl'ee-room and the tap, there is a gulf that 
may not be passed. He would appear to me to have adopted the best 
as well as the most benevolent mode of diffusing truth, who uniting 
the zeal of the methodist with the views of the philosopher, should be 
personally among the poor, and teach them their duties in order that he 
may render them susceptible of their rights. 

Yet by what means can' the lower classes be made to learn their 
duties, and urged to practise them ? The human race may perhaps pos- 
sess the capability of all excellence ; and truth, I doubt not, is omnipo* 
tent to a mind already disciplined for its reception ; but assuredly the 
overworked labourer, skulking into an alehouse, is not likely to exem- 
plify the one, or prove the other. In that barbarous tumult of inimical 
interests which the present state of society exhibits, religion appears to 
offer the only means universally efficient. The perfectness of future 
men is indeed a benevolent tenet, and may operate on a few vision- 
aries, whose studious habits supply them with employment, and seclude 
them from temptation. But a distant prospect, which we are never 
to reach, will seldom quicken our footsteps, however lovely it may 
appear ; and a blessing, which not ourselves but posterity are destined 
to enjoy, will scarcely influence the actions of any — still less of the 
ignorant, the prejudiced, and the selfish. 

" Go preach the Gospel to the poor." By its simplicity it will meet 

their comprehension, by its benevolence soften their affections, by its 

precepts it will direct their conduct, by the vastness of its motives insure 

their obedience. The situation of the poor is perilous ; they are indeed both 

from within and from -without 

Unarmed to all temptations. 

Prudential reasonings will in general be powerless with them. For the 
incitements of this world are weak in proportion as we are wretched — 

The world is urt my friend, nor the world's law. 

The world has got no law to make me rich. 

They too, who live from hand to mouth, will most frequently become 

220 The Friend. 

improvident. Possessing no stock of happiness they eageiiy seize the 
gratifications of the moment, and snatch the froth from the wave as it 
passes by them. Nor is the desolate state of their families a restraining 
motive, unsoftened as they are by education, and benumbed into selfish- 
ness by the torpedo touch of extreme want. Domestic affections depend 
on association. We love an object if, as often as we see or recollect it, 
an agreeable sensation arises in our minds. But alas ! how should he 
glow with the charities of father and husband, who gaining scarcely 
more than his own necessities demand, must have been accustomed to 
regard his wife and children, not as the soothers of finished labour, but 
as rivals for the insufficient meal! In a man so circumstanced the 
tyranny of the present can be ovei-powered only by the ten-fold mighti- 
ness of the future. Religion will cheer his gloom with her promises, 
and by habituating his mind to anticipate an infinitely great revolu- 
tion hereafter, may prepare it even for the sudden reception of a less 
degree of amelioration in this world. 

But if we hope to instruct others, we should familiarize our own 
minds to some fixed and determinate principles of action. The world is a 
vast labyrinth, in which almost every one is running a different way, and 
almost every one manifesting hatred to those who do not run the same 
way, A few indeed stand motionless, and not seeking to lead them- 
selves or others out of the maze, laugh at the failures of their brethren. 
Yet with little reason ; for more grossly than the most bewildered wan- 
derer does he err, who never aims to go right. It is more honourable 
to the head, as well as to the heart, to be misled by our eagerness in the 
pursuit of truth, than to be safe from blundering by contempt of it. 
The happiness of mankind is the end of virtue, and truth is the know- 
ledge of the means ; which he will never seriously attempt to discover, 
who has not habitually interested himself in the welfare of others. The 
searcher after truth must love and be beloved ; for general benevoletcc 
is a necessary motive to constancy of pursuit ; and this general benevo- 
lence is begotten and rendered permanent by social and domestic affec- 
tions. Let us beware of that proud philosophy, which affects to incul- 
cate philanthropy while it denounces every home-born teeling by which 
it is produced and nurtured. The paternal and filial duties discipline 
the heart and prepare it for the love of all mankind. The intensity of 
private attachments encourages, not prevents, universal benevolence. 
The nearer we approach to the sun, the more intense his heat ; yet what 
corner of the S}^stem does he not cheer and vivify ? 

The man who would find truth must likewise seek it with an humble 
and simple heart, otherwise he will be precipitant and overlook it ; or 
he will be prejudiced, and refuse to see it. To emancipate itself from 
the tyranny of association is the most arduous effort of the mind, par- 

Section 1. — J^ssay 16. 221 

Hcularly in religious and political disquisitions. The assertors of the 
system have associated with it the preservation of order and public 
virtue ; the oppugners, of imposture and wars and rapine. Hence, when 
they dispute, each trembles at the consequences of the other's opinions 
instead of attending to his train of arguments. Of this however we may 
be certain, whether we be Christians or infidels, aristocrats or republi- 
cans, that our minds are in a state unsusceptible of knowledge, when 
we feel an eagerness to detect the falsehood of an adversary's reason- 
ings, not a sincere wish to discover if there be truth in them ; — when 
we examine an argument in order that we may answer it, instead of 
answering because we have examined it. 

Our opponents are chiefly successful in confuting the theory of 
freedom by the practices of its advocates : fi'om our lives they 
draw the most forcible arguments against our doctrines. Nor have 
they adopted an unfair mode of reasoning. In a science the evi- 
dence suffers neither diminution or increase fiom the actions of its pro- 
fessors ; but the comparative wisdom of political systems depends neces- 
sarily on the manners and capacities of the recipients. Why should all 
things be thrown into confusion to acquire that liberty which a faction 
of sensualists and gamblers will neither be able or willing to pi'eserve ? 

A system of fundamental reform will scarcely be effected by massa- 
cres mechanized into revolution. We cannot therefore inculcate on the 
minds of each other too often or with too great earnestness the necessity 
of cultivating benevolent affections. We should be cautious how we 
indulge the feelings even of virtuous indignation. Indignation is the 
handsome brother of anger and hatred. The temple of despotism, like 
that of Tescalipoca, the Mexican deity, is built of human skulls, and 
cemented with human blood ; — let us beware that we be not transported 
into revenge while we are levellmg the loathsome yiile ; lest when we 
erect the edifice of freedom we but vary the style of architecture, not 
change the materials. Let us not wantonly offend even the prejudices 
of our weaker brethren, nor by ill-timed and vehement declarations of 
opinion excite in them malignant feelings towards us. The energies of 
mind are v/asted in these intemperate effusions. Those materials of pro- 
jectile force, which now carelessly scattered explode with an offensive 
and useless noise, directed by wisdom and union might heave rocks from 
their base, or perhaps (dismissing the metaphor) might produoe the 
desired effect without the convulsion. 

For this " subdued sobriety " of temper a practical faith in the doc- 
trine of philosophical necessity seems the only preparative. That vice 
is the effect of error and the offspring of surrounding circumstances, the 
object therefore of condolence not of anger, is a proposition easily under- 
stood and lis easily demonstrated. But to make it spread from the 

222 The Friend. 

imderstandr.ig to the affections, to call it into action, not only in 
the great exertions of patriotism, but in the daily and hourly occur, 
fences of social life, requires the most watchful attentions of the moist 
energetic mind. It is not enough that we have once swallowed these 
truths— we must feed on them, as insects on a leaf, till the whole heart 
be coloured by their qualities, and show its food in every the minutest, 

Finally, in the words of the Apostle, 

Watch ye ! Stand fast in the principles of which ye have been ccn- 
vinced ! Quit yourselves like men I Be strong ' Yet let all things bo 
done in the spirit of love ! 






(tiam a Musis si quando animum paulisper abducamns, apud Musas niliilomiDus feriamur, 
at recUnes qoidem, at otiosas, At de his et iilU inter ee Ubere colloquentes. 

224 The Second Landing-PlMe. 


It were a wantonness and would demand 

Severe reproof, if we were men whose hearts 

C!ould hold vain dalliance with the misery 

Even of the dead ; conteuteJ thence to draw 

A momentary pleasure, never mark'd 

By reason, barren of all future good. 

But we have known that there is often found 

In mournful thoughts, and always might be found 

A power to virtue friendly. \VoEi>s^rotTR M8. 

IKNOW not how I can better commence my secuuLl Landing- Place, 
as joining on to the section of politics, than by the following proof 
of the severe miseries which misgovernment may occasion in a country 
nominally free. In the homely ballad of the Three Graves (published 
in my Sibylline Leaves), I have attempted to exemplify the effect which 
one painful idea, vividly impiessed on the mind under unusual circum- 
stances, might have in producing an alienation of the understanding ; 
and in the parts hitherto published, I have endeavoured to trace the 
progress to madness, step by step. But though the main incidents are 
facts, the detail of the circumstances is of my own invention; that is, 
not what I knew, but what I conceived likely to have been the case, 
or at least equivalent to it. In the tale that follows, 1 present an in- 
stance of the same causes acting upon the mind to the production of 
conduct as wild as that of madness, but without any positive or penna- 
nent loss of the reason or the understanding ; and this in a real occur- 
rence, real in all its parts and particulars. But in truth this tale over- 
flows with a human interest, and needs no philosophical deduction to 
make it impressive. The account was published in the city in which 
the event took place, and in the same year I read it, when I was in 
Germany, and the impression made on my memory was so deep that 
though I relate it in my own langua2;e, and with my own feelings, and 
in reliance on the fidelity of my recollection, I dare vouch for the accu- 
racy of the narration in all important particulars. 

The imperial free towns of Germany are, with only two or three ex- 
ceptions, enviably distinguished by the virtuous and primitive manneis 
of the citizens, and by the parental character of their several govern- 
ments. As exceptions, however, we must mention Aix-la-Chapelle, 
lx)isoned by French manners, and the concourse of gamesters and 
sharpers; and Nuremberg, whose industrious and honest innabitants 
deserve a better fate than to have their lives and properties under the 
guardianship of a wolfish and merciless oligarchy, proud from ignorance, 
and romainmg ignorant through pride. It is from the small states of 
Germany, that our writers on political economy might draw their most 
forcible instances of actuallv onnressive, and even mortal, taxation, and 

Essay 1. 226 

gain the cleat 3st insight into the causes and circumstances of the injury. 
One other remark, and I proceed to the story. I well remember, that 
the event I am about»to narrate, calted forth, in several of the German 
periodical publications, the most passionate (and in more than one 
instance, blasphemous) declamations, concerning the incomprehensibility 
of the moral gOTernment of the world, and the seeming injustice and 
cruelty of the dispensations of Providence. But, assuredly, every one 
of my readers, however deeply he may sympathize with the poor 
sufferers, will at once answer all such declamations by the simple reflec- 
tion, that no one of these awful events could possibly have taken place 
under a wise police and humane government, and that men have no 
right to complain of Providence for evils which they themselves are 
competent to remedy by mere common sense, joined with mere common 

Maria Eleonora Schoning was the daughter of a Nuremberg wire- 
drawer. She received her unhappy existence at the price of her mother's 
hfe, and at the age of seventeen she followed, as the sole mourner, the 
bier of her remaining parent. From her thirteenth year she had passed her 
life at her father's sick-bed, the gout having deprived him of the use of 
his limbs ; and beheld the arch of heaven only when she went to fetch 
food or medicines. The discharge of her filial duties occupied the whole 
of her time and all her thoughts. She was his only nursfi, and for the 
laat two years they lived without a servant. She prepared his scanty 
meal, she bathed his aching limbs, and though weak and delicate from 
constant confinement and the poison of melancholy thoughts, she had 
acquired an unusual power in her arms, from the habit of lifting her old 
and suffering father out of and into his bed of pain. Thus passed away 
her early youth in sorrow : she grew up in tears, a stranger to the 
amusements of youth, and its more delightful schemes and imaginations. 
She was not, however, unhappy; she attributed, indeed, no merit to 
herself for her virtues, but for that reason were they the more her 
reward. The peace which passeth all understanding disclosed itself in 
all her looks and movements. It lay on her countenance, like a steady 
unshadowed moonlight ; and her voice, which was naturally at once 
sweet and subtle, came from her, like the fine flute-tones of a masterly 
performer, which still floating at some uncertain distance, seem to be 
created by the player rather than to proceed from the instrument. If 
you had listened to it in one of those brief sabbaths of the soul, when 
the activity and discursiveness of the thoughts are suspended, and the 
mind quietly eddies round, instead of flowing onward— (as at late 
ovenino- in the spring I have seen a bat wheel in silent circles round and 
round a fruit-tree in°fuU blossom, in the midst of which, as within a 
close tent of the surest white, an unseen nightingaie was piping its 

22G The Second Landing-Place. 

sweetest notes) — in such a mood you might have half fancied, half Mt, 
that her voice had a separate being of its own ; that it was a living 
something, whose mode of existence was for the ear only : so deep waa 
her resignation, so entirely had it become the unconscious habit of her 
nature, and in all she did or said, so perfectly were both her movements 
and her utterance without effort, and without the appearance of effort! 
Uer dying father's last words, addressed to the clergyman who attended 
him, were his grateful testimony, that during his long and sore trial his 
g(X)d Maria had behaved to him like an angel ; that the most disagreeable 
offices, and the least suited to her age and sex, had never drawn an un- 
willing look from her, and that whenever his eye had met hers he had 
been sure to see in it either the tear of pity or the sudden smile ex- 
pressive of her affection and wish to cheer him. " God," said he, "will 
reward the good girl for all her long dutifulness to me !" He departed 
during the inward prayer which followed these his last words. His 
wish will be fulfilled in eternity ; but for this world the prayer of the 
dying man was not heard ! 

Maria sat and wept by the grave which now contained her father, 
her friend, the only bond by which she was linked to life. But while 
yet the last sound of his death-bell was murmuriDg away in the air, she 
was obliged to return with two revenue officers, who demanded entrance 
into the house, in order to take possession of the papers of the deceased, 
and from them to discover whether he had alwaj's given in his income, 
and paid the yearly income-tax according to his oath, and in proportion 
to his property.* After the few documents had been looked through 
and collated with the registers, the officers found, or pretended to find, 
sufficient proofs that the deceased had not paid his tax proportionahly, 
which imposed on them the duty to put all the effects imder lock and 
seal. They therefore desired the maiden to retire to an empty room, till 
the ransom office had decided on the affair. Bred up in suffering, and 
habituated to immediate compliance, the affrighted and weeping maiden 
obeyed. She hastened to the empty garret, while the revenue officers 
placed the lock and seal upon the other doors, and finally took away the 
papers to the ransom office. 

Not before evening did the poor faint Maria, exhausted with weeping, 

* This tax, called the losung or ransom, in On the death of any citizen, the ransom 

Nuremberg, was at first a voluntary contri- ofiBce, or commissioners for this income or 

bution: every one gave according to his property tax, possess the right to examine 

liking or circumstances. But in the begin- his boolis and papers, and to compare his 

ning of the 15th centuiy the hea\'y contri- yearly payment as found in their registers 

bntions levied for the service of the Empire, with the property he appears to have pes- 

forced the magistrates to determine the sessed during that time. If any dispropor- 

proportions and make the payment compul- tion appeared, if the yearly declarations of 

Bory. At the time in which this event took the deceased should have been inaccurate in 

place, 1Y87, every citizen must yearly take the least degree, his whole effects are con- 

whatwas called his ransom oath (losungseid) fiscated, and though he should have left wife 

that the sum paid by him has been in the and child, the stat« treasury becomes hit 

strict determinate proportion to his property, heir 


Estay 1. 227 

pouse herself with the intention of going to her bed ; but she found the dooi 
of her chamber sealed up, and that she must pass the night on the floor o( 
the garret. The officers had had the humanity to place at the door tht> 
small portion of food that happened to be in the house. Thus passed 
several days, till the officers returned with an order that Maria Eleonora 
Schoning should leave the house without delay, the commission court 
having confiscated the whole property to the city treasury. The father 
before he was bedridden had never possessed any considerable property ; 
but yet, by his industry, had been able not only to keep himself free 
from debt, but to lay up a small sum for the evil day. Three years of 
evil days, three whole years of sickness, had consumed the greatest part 
of this ; yet still enough remained not only to defend his daughter from 
immediate want, but likewise to maintain her till she could get into some 
service or employment, and should have recovered her spirits sufficiently 
to bear up against the hardships of life. With this thought her dying 
father comforted himself, and this hope too proved vain ! 

A timid girl, whose past life had been made up of sorrow and privar 
tion, she went indeed to solicit the commissioners in her own behalf ; 
but these were, as is mostly the case on the continent, advocates — the 
most hateful class, perhaps, of human society, hardened by the frequent 
Bight of misery, and seldom superior in moral character to Eng'lish petti- 
foggers or Old Bailey attorneys. She went to them, indeed, but not a 
word could she say for herself. Her tears and inarticulate sounds — for 
these her judges had no ears or eyes. Mute and confounded, like an 
unfledged dove fallen out from its mother's nest, Maria betook herself to 
her home, and found the house door too now shut upon her. Her 
whole wealth consisted in the clothes she wore. She had no i-elations 
to whom she could apply, for those of her mother had disclaimed all 
acquaintance with her, and her father was a Nether Saxon by birth. 
She had no acquaintance, for all the friends of old SchOning had for- 
saken him in the first year of his sickness. She had no playfellow, for 
who was likely to have been the companion of a nurse in the room of a sick 
man ? Surely, since the creation never was a human being more sohtary 
and forsaken than this hmocent poor creature, that now roamed about 
friendless in a populous city, to the whole of whose inhabitants her filial 
tenderness, her patient domestic goodness, and all her soft yet difficult 
virtues, might well have been the model. 

But homeless near a thousand homes she stood. 
And near a thousand tables pined, and wanted food ! 

The ni<^ht came, and Maria knew not where to find a shelter. She 
tottered^to the churchyard of the St. James' church in Nuremberg, 
where the body of her father rested. Upon the yet grassless grave she 
ihiev herself down ; and could anguish have prevailed over youth, that 

228 The Second Landing-Place, 

night she had been in heaven. The day came, and like a guilty thing, 
this guiltless, this good beins, stole away from the crowd that began to 
pass through the church\ ard, and hastening through the streets to the 
city gate, she hid herself behind a garden hedge just beyond it, arid 
there wept away the second day of her desolation. The evening closetl 
in : the pang of hunger made itself felt amid the dull aching of self- 
wearied anguish, and drove the sufferer back again into the city. Yet 
what could she gain there ? She had not the courage to beg, and the 
very thought of stealing never occurred to her innocent mind. Scarce 
conscious whither she was going, or why she went, she found herself once 
more by her father's grave, as the last relic of evening faded away in 
the horizon. I have sat for some minutes with my pen resting ; I can 
scarce summon the courage to tell, what I scarce know whether I ought 
to tell. Were I composing a tale of fiction the reader might justly 
suspect the purity of my own heart, and most certainly would have 
abundant right to resent such an incident, as an outrage wantonly 
offered to his imagination. As I think of the circumstance, it seems 
more like a distempered dream ; but alas ! what is guilt so detestable 
other than a dream of madness, that worst madness, the madness of the 
heart ? I cannot but believe that the dark and restless passions must 
first have drawn the mind in upon themselves, and as v?ith the confusion 
of imperfect sleep, have in some strange manner taken away the sense of 
reality, in order to render it possible for a human being to perpetrate 
what it is too certain that human beings have perpetrated. The church- 
yards in most of the German cities, and too often, I fear, in those of our 
own country, are not more injurious to health than to morality. Their 
former venerable character is no more. The religion of the place has 
followed its superstitions, and their darkness and loneliness tempt 
worse spirits to roam in them than those whose nightly wanderings 
appalled the believing hearts of our brave forefathers ! It was close by 
the new-made grave of her father, that the meek and spotless daughter 
became the victim to brutal violence, which weeping and watching and 
cold and hunger had rendered her utterly unable to resist. The 
monster left her in a trance of stupefaction, and into her right hand, 
which she had clenched convulsively, he had forced a half-dollar. 

It was one of the darkest nights of autumn : in the deep and dead 
silence the only sounds audible were the slow blunt ticking of the 
church clock, and now and then the sinking down of bones in the nigh 
charnel house. Maria, when she had in some degree recovered her 
senses, sat upon the grave near which — not her innocence had been 
sacrificed, but — that which, from the frequent admonitions and almost the 
dying words of her father, she had been accustomed to consider as such. 
Guiltless, she felt the pangs of guilt, and still continued to grasp the 
coin which the monster had left in her hand, with an anguish aa sore af 

Essay 1. 229 

if it hiid been indeed the wages of voluntary prostitution. Giddy and 
faint from want o'' food, her brain becoming feverish from sleeplessnesn, 
and this unexampled concurrence of calamities, this complication an 1 
entanglement of misery in misery! she imagined that she heard htr 
father's voice bidding her leave his sight. His last blessings had been 
conditional, for in his last hours he had told her that the loss of her 
innocence would not let him rest quiet in his grave. His last blessings 
now sounded in her ears like curses, and she fled from the churchyard 
as if a demon had been chasing her ; and hurrying along the streets, 
through which it is probable her accursed violator had walked with 
quiet and orderly step * to his place of rest and security, she was seized 
by the watchmen of the niglit — a welcome prey, as they receive in 
Nuremberg half a gulden from the police chest, for every woman that 
they find in the streets after ten o'clock at night. It was midnight, and 
she was taken to the next watch-house. 

The sitting magistrate, before whom she was carried the next morning 
prefaced his first question with the most opprobrious title that ever be- 
longed to the most hardened street-walkers, and which man born of 
woman should not address even to these, were it but for his own sake. 
The frightful name awakened the poor orphan from her dream of guilt, 
it brought back the consciousness of her innocence, but with it the 
sense likewise of her wrongs and of her helplessness. The cold hand of 
death seemed to grasp her, she fainted dead away at his feet, and was 
not without difficulty recovered. The magistrate was so far softened, 
and only so far, as to dismiss her for the present ; but with a menace of 
sending her to the House of Correction if she were brought before him a 
second time. The idea of her own innocence now became uppermost in 
her mind ; but mingling with the thought of her utter forlornness, and 
the image of her angry father, and doubtless still in a state of bewilder- 
ment, she formed the resolution of drowning herself in tlie river Pegnitz 

• It must surely have been after hearing one of the battlements of Heaven espy, bow 

of or witnessing some similar event or scene many men and women at this time lie faint- 

of wretchedness, that the most eloquent of ing and dying for want of bread, how many 

our writers ([ had almost said of our poets), young men are hewn down by the sword of 

Jeremy Taylor, wrote the following para- war ; how many poor orphans are now weep- 

graph, which at least in Longinus's sense of ing over the graves of their father, by whose 

the word we may place among the most life they were enabled to eat ; if we could 

sublime passages in EngUsh literature. " He but hear how many mariners and passengers 

that is no fool, but can consider wisely, if he are at this present ma storm, and shnek out 

be in love with this world we need not because their keel dashes agamst a rock, or 

despair but that a witty man might reconcile bulges under them ; how many people there 

hini with tortures, and make him think are that weep witli want, and are mad with 

charitably of the rack, and be brought to ad- oppression, or are desperate by a too quick 

mire the harmony that is made by a herd of sense of a consta,nt infehcity ; in all reason 

evening wolves when they miss their draught we should be glad to be out of the noise and 

of blood in th»ir iidnight revels. The participation of so many evils, fhis is a 

«ruans of a man in a fit of the stone are place of sorrows and tears, of fjreat evils and 

worse than all these • and the distractions of constant calamities : let \.s remove hence, at 

. Zubled c'onscitnc^ are worse than those least in affectioijs and preparations of mind.- 
groans- and yet a careless merry sinner Holy Dying, Chap. \. Sect. 5. 

te worse f lan all that. But if wo could from 

230 The Second Landing-Plaee. 

• — in order (for this was the shape which her fancy had taken) to thn>w 
herself at her father's feet, and to justify her innocence to him in the 
world of spirits. She hoped that her father would speak for her to the 
Saviour, and that she should be forgiven. But as she was passing 
through the suburb she was met by a soldier's wife, who during the 
lifetime of her father had been occasionally employed in the house as ? 
charwoman. This poor woman was startled at the disordered apparel 
and more disordered looks of her young mistress, and questiaied her 
with such an anxious and heartfelt tenderness, as at once brought back 
the poor orphan to her natural feelings and the obligations of religion. 
As a frightened child throws itself into the arms of its mother, and 
hiding its head on her breast, half tells amid sobs what has happened to 
it, so did she throw herself on the neck of the woman who had uttered 
the first words of kindness to her since her father's death, and with loud 
weeping she related what she had endured and what she was about to 
have done, told her all her affliction and her misery, the woimwood and 
the gall ! Her kind-hearted friend mingled tears with tears, pressed the 
poor forsaken one to her heart ; comforted her with sentences out of the 
hymn-book ; and with the most affectionate entreaties conjured her to 
give up her horrid purpose, for that life was short, and heaven was for 

Maria had been bred up in the fear of God ; she now trembled at the 
thought of her former purpose, and followed her friend Harlin, for that 
was the name of her guardian angel, to her home hai'd by. The moment 
she entered the door she sank down and lay at her full length, as if only 
to be motionless in a place of shelter had been the fulness of delight. 
As when a withered leaf, that has been long whirled about by the gusts 
of autumn, is blown into a cave or hollow tree, it stops suddenly, and all 
at once looks the very image of quiet — such might this poor orphan ap- 
pear to the eye of a meditative imagination. 

A place of shelter she had attained, and a friend willing to comfort 
her in all that she could ; but the noble-hearted Harlin was herself a 
daughter of calamity, one who from year to year must lie down in 
weariness and rise up to labour ; for whom this world provides no other 
comfort but the sleep which enables them to forget it ; no other physi- 
cian but death, which takes them out of it ! She was married to one of 
the city guards, who, like Maria's father, had been long sick and bedridden. 
IJim, herself, and two little children, she had to maintain by washing and 
charing ;* and some time after Maria had been domesticated with them, 
Harlin told her that she herself had been once driven to a desperate 
thought by the cry of her hungry children, during & want of employ- 
ment, and that she had been on the point of killing one of the little ones, 

« 1 am ignorant whether there be any no other word that expresses occasional iM.J' 
crassical aithority for this word, but I know labour in the houses of others. 

Essay 1. 231 

aiid of then surrendering herself into the hands of justice. In this 
manner, she had conceived, all would be well provided for ; the surviving 
child would be admitted, as a matter of course, into the Orphan House, 
and her husband into the Hospital ; while she herself would have atoned 
for her act by a public execution, and, together with the child that she 
had destroyed, would have passed into a state of bliss. AU this she 
related to Maria, and those tragic ideas left but too deep and lastino- im- 
pression on her mind. "Weeks after, she herself renewed the conversa- 
tion, by expressing to her benefactress her inability to conceive how it 
was possible for one human being to take away the life of another, es- 
pecially that of an innocent little child. " For that reason," replied Harlin, 
"because it was so innocent and so good, I wished to put it out of this 
wicked world. Thinkest thou, then, that I would have my head cut off 
for the sake of a wicked child ? Therefore it was little Nan that I 
meant to have taken with me, who, as you see, is always so sweet and 
patient ; little Frank has already his humours and naughty tricks, and 
suits better for this world." This was the answer. Maria brooded a while 
■©ver it in silence, then passionately snatched the children up in her 
arms, as if she would protect them against their own mother. 

For one whole year the orphan lived with the soldier's wife, and by 
their joint labours barely kept off absolute want. As a little boy (al- 
most a child in size, though in his thirteenth year) once told me of him- 
self, as he was guiding me up the Brocken, in the Hartz Forest, they 
had but " little of that, of which a great deal tells but for little." But 
now came the second winter, and with it came bad times, a season of 
trouble for this poor and meritorious household. The wife now fell 
sick: too constant and too hard labour, too scanty and too innutritious 
food, had gradually wasted away her strength. Maria redoubled her 
efforts in order to provide bread and fuel for their washing which they 
took in ; but the task was above her powers. Besides, she was so timid 
and so agitated at the sight of strangers, that sometimes, with the best 
good-will, she was left without employment. One by one, every article 
of the least value which they possessed was sold off, except the bed on 
which the husband lay. He died just before the approacli of spring ; 
but about the same time the wife gave signs of convalescence. The 
physician, though almost as poor as his patients, had been kind to them : 
silver and gold had he none, but he occasionally brought a little wine, 
and often assured them that nothing was wanting to her perfect recovery 
but better nouiishment and a little wine every day. This, however, 
could not be regnlarly procured, and Harlin's spirits sank, and as her 
bodily pain left her she became more melancholy, silent, and self-in- 
volved. And now it was that Maria's mind was incessantly racked by 
the frightful apprehension, that her friend might be again meditating 
the accomplishment of her former purpose. She had grown as passion- 

232 The Second Landing-Place 

ately fond of the two children as if she had borne them under her oivt! 
heart ; but the jeopardy in which she conceived her friend's salvaticn to 
Btand — this was her predominant thought. For all the hopes and fears, 
which under a happier lot would have been associated with the objects 
of the senses, were transferred, by Maria, to her notions and images of a 
future state. 

In the beginning of March, one bitter cold evening, Maria started up 
and suddenly left the house. The last morsel of food had been divided 
between the two children for their breakfast ; and for the last hour or 
more the little boy had been crying for hunger, while his gentler sister 
had been hiding her face in Maria's lap, and pressing her little body 
against her knees, in order by that mechanic pressure to dull the aching 
from emptiness. The tender-hearted and visionary maiden had watched 
the mother's eye, and had interpreted several of her sad and steady looks 
according to her preconceived apprehensions. She had conceived all at 
once the sti-ange and enthusiastic thought, that she would in some way 
or other offer her own soul for the salvation of the soul of her friend. 
The money, which had been left in her hand, flashed upon the eye of 
her mind, as a single unconnected image ; and faint with hunger and 
shivering with cold, she salHed forth — in search of guilt! Awful are 
the dispensations of the Supreme, and in His severest judgments the 
hand of mercy is visible. It was a night so wild with wind and rain, or 
rather rain and snow mixed together, that a famished wolf would have 
stayed in his cave, and listened to a howl more fearful than his own. 
Forlorn Maria ! thou wert kneeling in pious simplicity at the grave of 
thy father, and thou becamest the prey of a monster ! Innocent thou 
wert, and without guilt didst thou remain. Now thou goest forth of 
thy own accord — but God will have pity on thee ! Poor bewildered in- 
nocent ! in thy spotless imagination dwelt no distinct conception of the 
evil which thou wentest forth to brave ! To save the soul of thy friend 
was the dream of thy feverish brain, and thon wert again apprehended 
as an outcast of shameless sensuality, at the moment when thy too 
spiritualized fancy was busied with the glorified forms of thy friend and 
of her little ones interceding for thee at the throne of the Redeemer ! 

At this moment her perturbed fancy suddenly suggested to her a new 
mean for the accomplishment of her purpose ; and she rephed to the 
night-watch, who with a brutal laugh bade her expect on the morrow 
the unmanly punishment, which to the disgrace of human nature the 
laws of Protestant states (alas ! even those of our own country) inflif^t^^ 
on female vagrants, that she came to deliver herself up as an infanticiat. 
She was instantly taken before the magistrate, through as wild and 
pitiless a storm as ever pelted on a houseless head ! through as blacK 
and tyrannous a night as ever aided the workings of a heated brain ! 
Here she conlessed that she had been delivered of an infant by the 


Easay 1. 2^3 

Bcldier's wife, Harlin, that she deprived it of life in the presence of Har- 
lin, and according to a plan preconcerted with her, and that Harlin had 
buried it somewhere in the wood, but where she knew not. During this 
strange tale she appeared to listen, with a mixture of fear and satisfac- 
tion, to the howling of the wind ; and never sure could a confession of 
real guilt have been accompanied by a more dreadfully appropriate 
music ! At the moment of her apprehension she had formed the scheme 
of helping her friend out of the world in a state of innocence. "When 
the soldier's widow was confronted with the orphan, and the latter had 
repeated her confession to her face, Harlin answered in these words, 
" For God's sake, Maria 1 how have I deserved this of thee ?" Then 
turning to the magistrate, said, " I know nothing of this." This was 
the sole answer which she gave, and not another word could they extort 
from her. The instniments of torture were brought, and Harlin was 
warned, that if she did not confess of her own accord, the truth would 
he immediately forced from her. This menace convulsed IMaria Schon- 
ing with affright: her intention had been to emancipate herself and her 
friend from a life of unmixed suffering, without the crime of suicide in 
either, and with no guilt at all on the part of her friend. The thought 
of her friend's being put to the torture had not occurred to her. Wildly 
and eagerly she pressed her friend's hands, already bound in preparation 
for the torture — she pressed them in agony between her own, and said to 
her, " Anna ! confess it I Anna, dear Anna ! it will then be well with all of 
us ! all, all of us ! and Frank and little Nan will be put into the Orphan 
House !" Maria's scheme now passed, like a flash of lightning, through 
the widow's mind ; she acceded to it at once, kissed Maria repeatedly, 
and then serenely turning her face to the judge, acknowledged that she 
had added to the guilt by so obstinate a denial, that all her friend had 
said was true, save only that she had thrown the dead infant into the 
river, and not buried it in the wood. 

They were both committed to prison, and as they both persevered in 
their common confession, the process was soon made out and the 
condemnation followed the trial : and the sentence, by which they were 
both to be beheaded with the sword, was ordered to be put in force on the 
next day but one. On the morning of the execution the delinquents 
were brought together, in order that they might be recimciled with each 
other, and join in common prayer for forgiveness of their common 


But now Maria's thoughts took another turn. The idea that her 
benefactress, that so very good a woman, should be violently put out of 
life, and this with an infamy on her name whicli would cling for ever 
to the little orphans, overpowered her. Her own excessive desire to die 
scarcely prevented her from discovering the whole plan; and when 
Harlin was left alone with her, and she saw her friend's calm and affec- 

234 The Second Landing-Place. 

tionate look, her fortitude was dissolved ; she burst into loud and 
Piwsionate weeping, and throwing herself mto tier friend's arms, with 
convulsive sobs she entreated her forgiveness. Harlin pressed the poor 
agonized girl to her arms ; like a tender mother, she kissed and fondled 
her wet cheeks, and in the most solemn and emphatic tones assured her 
that there was nothing to forgive. On the contrary, she was her greatest 
benefactress, and the instrument of God's goodness to remove her at once 
from a miserable world and from the temptation of committing a heavy 
crime. In vain ! Her repeated promises, that she would answer before 
God for them both, could not pacify the tortured conscience of Maria, till 
at length the presence of the clergyman and the preparations for receiving 
the sacrament occasioned the widow to address her thus — " See, Maria ! 
this is the Body and Blood of Christ, which takes away all sin ! Let us 
partake together of this holy repast with full trust in God and joyful 
hope of our approaching happiness." These words of comfort, uttered 
with cheering tones, and accompanied with a look of inexpressible ten- 
derness and serenity, brought back peace for a while to her troubled 
spirit. They communicated together, and on parting, the magnanimous 
woman once more embraced her young friend ; then stretching her hand 
toward heaven, said, " Be tranquil, Maria ! by to-moiTOW morning we 
are there, and all our sorrows stay here behind us." 

I hasten to the scene of the execution ; for I anticipate my reader's 
feelings in the exhaustion of my own heart. Serene and with unaltered 
countenance the lofty-minded Harlin heard the strokes of the death-bell, 
stood before the scaffold while the staff was broken over her, and at 
length ascended the steps, all with a steadiness and tranquillity of manner 
which was not more distant from fear than from defiance and bravado. 
Altogether different was the state of poor Maria : with shattered nerves 
and an agonizing conscience that incessantly accused her as the murderess 
of her friend, she did not walk but staggered towards the scaffold and 
stumbled up the steps. While Harlin, who went first, at every step 
turned her head round and still whispered to her, raising her eyes to 
heaven, " But a few minutes, Maria ! and we are there !" On the scaffold 
she again bade her farewell, again repeating, "Dear Maria! but one 
minute now, and we are together with God." But when she knelt down 
and her neck was bared for the stroke, the tinhappy girl lost all self- 
command, and witli a loud and piercing shriek she bade them hold and 
not murder the innocent. " She is innocent ! I have borne false witness I 
I alone am the murderess !" She rolled herself now at the feet of the 
executioner, and now at those of the clergymen, and conjured them to stop 
the execution : declaring that the whole story had been invented by her- 
self ; that she had never brought forth, much less destroyed, an infant ; that 
for hor friend's sake she made this discovery ; that for herself she wished 
to die, and would die gladly, if they would take away her friend, an"? 


Essay 1. 235 

promise to free her soul from the dreadful agony of having murdered hei 
friend by false witness. The executioner asked Harlin, if there were any 
truth in wliat Maria Schoning had said. The heroine answered with 
manifest reluctance : "Most assuredly she hath said the truth; I con- 
fessed myself guilty, because I wished to die and thought it best for both 
of us ; and now that my hope is on the moment of its accomplishment, 
1 cannot be supposed to declare myself innocent for the sake of saving 
my life — but any wretchedness is to be endured rather than that poor 
creature should be hurried out of the world in a state of despair." 

The outcry of the attending populace prevailed to suspend the execu- 
tion : a report was sent to the assembled magistrates, and in the mean 
time one of the priests reproached the widow in bitter words for her 
former false confession. " What," she replied sternly but without anger, 
"what would the truth have availed? Before I perceived my friend's 
purpose I did deny it : my assurance was pronounced an impudent lie ; 
I was already bound for the torture, and so bound that the sinews of my 
hands started, and one of their worships in the large white peruke, 
threatened that he would have me stretched till the sun shone through 
me ! and that then I should cry out, Yes, when it was too late." The 
priest was hard-hearted or superstitious enough to continue his reproofs, 
to which the noble woman condescended no further answer. The other 
clergyman, however, was both more rational and more humane. He 
succeeded in silencing his colleague, and the former half of the long hour, 
which the magistrates took in making speeches on the improbability of 
the tale instead of re-examining the culprits in person, he employed in 
gaining from the widow a connected account of all the circumstances, 
and in listening occasionally to Maria's passionate descriptions of all her 
friend's goodness and magnanimity. For she had gained an influx of 
life and spirit from the assurance in her mind, both that she had now 
rescued Harlin from death and was about to expiate the guilt of her 
purpose by her own execution. For the latter half of the time the 
clergyman remained in silence, lost in thought, and momentarily expect- 
ing the return of the messenger. All that during the deep silence of 
this interval could be heard was one exclamation of Harlin to her 
unhappy friend — " Oh ! Maria! Maria ! couldst thou but have kept up 
thy courage but for another minute, we should have been now in 
heaven !" The messenger came back with an order from the magistrates 
to proceed with the execution ! AVith reanimated countenance Harlin 
placed her neck on the block, and her head was severed from her body a general shriek from the crowd. The executioner fainted after 
the blow and the under hangman was ordered to take his place. He 
was not wanted. Maria was already gone : her body was found as cold 
as if she had been dead for some hours. The flower had been inapt in 
the storm, before the scythe of violence could come near it. 

28G 37*6 Second Landmg-Ptacs. 


The history of times representeth the magnitude of actions and the public faces or deport, 
ment of persons, and passeth over in silence the smaller passages and motions of men and 
matters. But such being the workmanship of God, that he doth hang the greatest weiglit 
upon the smallest wires, maxima e minimis suspendens ; it comes therefore to pass, thiit 
histories do rather set forth the pomp of business than the true and inward resorts thereof. 
But li%'es, if they be well written, propounding to themselves a person to represent in whom 
actions both greater and smaller, public and private, have a commixture, must of necessity 
contain a more true, native, and lively representation. — Lokd Bacon. 

MANKIND in general are so little in the habit of looking steadily at 
their own meaning, or of weighing tlie words by which they express 
it, that the writer, who is careful to do both, will sometimes mislt^ad 
his readers through the very excellence which qualifies him to be their 
instructor ; and this with no other fault on his part than the modest 
mistake of supposing in those, to whom he addresses himself, an intellect 
as watchful as his own. The inattentive reader adopts as unconditionally 
true, or perhaps rails at his author for having stated as such, what upon 
examination would be found to have been duly limited, and would so 
have been understood, if opaque spots and false refractions were as rare 
in the mental as in the bodily eye. The motto, for instance, to this 
paper has more than once served as an excuse and authority for huge 
volumes of biographical minutiae, which render the real character almost 
invisible, like clouds of dust on a portrait, or the counterfeit frankincense 
which smoke-blacks the favourite idol of a Catholic village. Yet Lord 
Bacon, by the words which I have marked in italics, evidently confines 
the biographer to such facts as are either susceptible of some useful 
general inference, or tend to illustrate those qualities which distinguished 
the subject of them from ordinary men ; while the passage in general 
was meant to guard the historian against considering as trifles, all that 
might appear so to those who recognize no greatness in the mind, and 
can conceive no dignity in any incident which does not act on their 
senses by its external accompaniments, or on their curiosity by its im- 
mediate consequences. Things apparently insignificant are recommended 
to our notice, not for their own sakes, but for their bearings or influences 
on things of importance ; in other words, when they are insignificant in 
appearance only. 

An inquisitiveness into the minutest circumstances, and casual 
sayings of eminent contemporaries, is indeed quite natural ; but so 
are all our follies, and the more natural they are, the more caution 
should we exert in guarding against them. To scribble trifles even on 
the perishable glass of an inn window, is the mark of an idler ; but to 
engrave them on the marble monument, sacred to the memory of the 
departed great, is something worse than idleness. Tho spirit of genuine 
biography is in nothing more conspicuous than in the firmness with which 

Essay 2. 237 

it withstands tlie cravings of wortiiless curiosity, as distinguislied from 
the thirst after useful knowledge. For, in the first place, such anec- 
dotes as derive their whole and sole interest from the great name of the 
person concerning whom they are related, and neither illustrate his 
general character nor his particular actions, would scarcely have been 
noticed or remembered except by men of weak minds : it is not un- 
likely, therefore, that they were misapprehended at the time, and it is 
most probable that they have been related as incorrectly as they were 
noticed injiidiciously. Nor are the consequences of such garrulous 
biography merely negative. For as insignificant stories can derive no 
real respectability from the eminence of the person who happens to be 
the subject of them, but rather an additional deformity of dispro- 
portion, they are apt to have their insipidity seasoned by the same bad 
passions that accompany the habit of gossiping in general ; and the 
misapprehensions of weak men meeting with the misinterpretations of 
malignant men, have not seldom formed the groundwork of the most 
grievous calumnies. In the second place, these trifles are subversive of 
the great end of biography, which is to fix the attention, and to interest 
the feelings, of men ou those qualities and actions which have made 
a particular life worthy of being recorded. It is, no doubt, the duty of 
an honest biographer, to pertray the prominent imperfections as well 
as excellencies of his hero ; but I am at a loss to conceive how this can 
be deemed an excuse for heaping together a multitude of particulars, 
which can prove nothing of any man that might not have been safely 
taken for granted of all men. In the present age (emphatically the age of 
personality !) there are more than ordinary motives for withholding all 
encouragement from this mania of busying ourselves with the names of 
others, which is still more alarming as a symptom than it is trouble- 
some as a disease. The reader must be still less acquainted with con- 
temporary literature than myself — a case not likely to occur — if he 
needs me to inform him, that there are men, who trading in the silliest 
anecdotes, in unprovoked abuse and senseless eulogy, think themselves 
nevertheless employed both worthily and honourably, if only all this 
be done " in good set terms," and from the press, and of public charac- 
ters ; a class which has increased so rapidly of late, that it becomes 
difficult to discover what characters are to be considered as private. 
Alas ! if these wretched misusers of language, and the means of giving 
wings to thought— the means of multiplying the presence of an indi- 
vidual mind, had ever known how great a thing the possession of any 
one simple truth is, and how mean a thing a mere fact is, except as 
seen in the light of some comprehensive truth ; if they had but once 
experienced the unborrowed complacency, the inward independence, 
the home-bred strength, with which every clear conception of the 
reason is accompanied ; they would shrink from their own pages as at 

238 The Second Landing-Place. 

the renaembrance of a crime. For a crime it is (and the itian vrW' 
hesitates in prououncing it such, must be ignorant of what mankind 
owe to books, what he himself owes to them in spite of his ignorance), 
thus to introduce the spirit of vulgar scandal and personal inquietudti 
into the closet and the library, environing with evil passions the very 
sanctuaries, to which we should flee for refuge from them ! For to 
what do these [)ublications appeal, whether the'' present themselves aa 
biography or as anonymous criticism, but to the aame feelings which the 
scandal-bearers and time-killers of ordinary life seek to o;ratify in them- 
selves and their listeners ? And both the authors and admirers of such 
publications, in what respect are they less truants and deserters irom 
their own hearts, and from their appointed task of understanding and 
amending them, than the most garrulous female chronicler of the 
goings-on of yesterday in the families of her neighbours and towns-, 
Iblk ? 

The Friend has reprinted the following biographical sketch, partly 
indeed in the hope that it may be the means of introducing to tlie 
reader's knowledge, in case he should not have formed an acquaintance 
with them already, two of the most interesting biographical works in 
our language, both for the weight of the matter, and the incmiosn 
felicitas of the style. I refer to Koger North's Examen, and the Life of 
his brother, the Lord Chancellor North. The pages are all alive with 
the genuine idioms of our mother-tongue. 

A fastidious taste, it is true, will find offen"' in the occasional vul- 
garisms, or what we now call slang, which not a few of our writeis, 
sliortly after the restoration of Charles XL, seem to have affected as a 
mark of loyalty. These instances, however, are but a trifling draw- 
back. They are not sought for, as is too often and too plainly done by 
L'Estrange, CoUyer, Tom Brown, and their imitations. North never 
goes out of his way either to seek them or to avoid them ; and in the 
main his language gives us the very nerve, pulse, and sinew of a hearty, 
healthy, conversational Enylish. 

This is The Friend's first reason for the insertion of this extract. 
His other and principal motive may be found in the kindly good- 
tempered spirit of the passage. But instead of troubling the reader with 
the painful contrast which so many recollections force on my own 
feelings, I will refer the character-makers of the present day to the 
Letters of Erasmus and Sir Thomas More to Martin Dorpius, that are 
commonly annexed to the Encomium Morlje ; and then for a practical 
comment on the just and affecting sentiments of these two great men, 
to the works of Roger North, as proofs how alone an English scholar 
and gentleman will permit himself to delineate his contemporaries even 
under the strongest prejudices of party spirit, and though employed on 
the coarsest subjects. A coarser subject than L. C. J. Saunders cannot 

Essay 2. 239 

well be imagined ; nor does North use his colours with a sparing oj 
very delicate hand. And yet the final impression is that of kindness. 


The Lord Chief Justice Saunders succeeded in the room of Pembertoii, 
His character, and his beginning were equally strange. He was at fir&t 
no better than a poor boy. if not a parish foundling, without knowing 
parents or relations. He had found a way to live by obsequiousness in 
Clement's Inn, as I rememher, and courting the attorneys' clerks for 
scraps. The extraordinary ohservance and diligence of the boy made 
the society willing to do him good. He appeared very ambitious to 
learn to write, and one of the attorneys got a board knocked up at a 
window on the top of a staircase ; and that was his desk, where he sat 
and wrote after copies of court, and other hands the clerks gave him. 
He made himself so expert a writer that he took in business, and earned 
some pence by hackney-writing. And thus by degrees he pushed his 
faculties and fell to, and by books that were lent him became an 
exquisite entering clerk ; and by the same course of improvement 
of himself, an able counsel, first in special pleading, then at large ; and 
after he was called to the Bar, had practice in the King's Bench Court 
equal with any there. As to his person he was very corpulent and 
beastly, a mere lump of morbid flesh. He used to say, by Ids troggs 
(such an humorous way of talking he affected), none could say he 
wanted issue of his body, for he had nine in his back. He was a fetid 
mass, that offended his neighbours at the bar in the sharpest degree. 
Those whose ill fortune it was to stand near him were confessors, and 
in summer time almost martyrs. This hateful decay of his carcase 
came upon him by continual sottishness ; for to say nothing of brandy, 
he was seldom without a pot of ale at his nose, or near him. TLat 
exercise was all he used ; the rest of his life was sitting at his desk or 
piping at home; and that home was a tailor's house in Butclier Eo\y, 
called his lodging, and the man's wife was his nurse or worse ; but by 
virtue of his money, of which he made little account, though he got a 
great deal, he soon became master of the family ; and being no changeling 
he never removed, but was true to his friends, and they to him, to the 
last hour of his life. So much for his person and education. As for 
his parts none had them more lively than he ; wit and repartee in an 
affected rusticity were natural to him. He was ever ready and never 
at a loss ; and none came so near as he to be a match for Sergeant 
Maynard. His great dexterity was in the art of special pleading, and 
he would lay snares that often caught his superiors who were not aware 
of his traps. And he was so fond of success for his clients, that rather 
than fail, he would set the court hard with a trick ; for which he met, 
-iomctimes with a reprimand which he would ward off, so that no one 

240 The Second Landing-Place. 

was much offended with hfm. But Hale could not bear his irregu. 
larity of life ; and for that, and suspicion of his tricks, used to bear hard 
upon him in the court. But no ill usage from the bench was too bard 
for his hold of business, being such as scarce any could do but himself. 
With all this he had a goodness of nature and disposition in so great a 
degree, that he may be deservedly styled a Philanthrope. He was a 
very Silenus to the boys, as in this place I may term the students of 
the law, to make them merry whenever they had a mind to it. He 
had nothing of rigid or austere in him. If any near him at the bar 
grumbled at his stench, he ever converted the complaint into content 
and laughing with the abundance of his wit. As to bis ordinary deal- 
ing, he was as honest as the driven snow was white ; and why not, having 
no regard for money, or desire to be rich ? And for good-nature and 
condescension there was not his fellow. I have seen him for hours and 
half-hours together, before the court sat, stand at the bar, with an 
audience of students over against him, putting of cases, and debating so 
as suited their capacities, and encouraged their industry. And so in the 
Temple, he seldom moved without a parcel of youths hanging about 
him, and he merry and jesting with them. 

It will be readily conceived that this man was never cut out to be a 
presbyter, or anything that is severe and crabbed. In no time did he 
lean to faction, but did his business without offence to any. He put off 
officious talk of government or politics with jests, and so made his wit a 
catholicon or shield to cover all his weak places or infirmities. When 
the court fell into a steady course of using the law against all kinds of 
offenders, this man was taken into the king's business ; and had the 
part of drawing, and perusal of almost all indictments and informations 
that were then to be prosecuted, with the pleadings thereon, if any were 
special ; and he had the settling of the large pleadings,in the qtio war- 
ranto against London. His Lordship had no sort of conversation with 
nim but in the way of business and at the bar ; but once, after he was 
in the king's business, he dined with his Lordship, and no more. And 
there he showed another qualification he had acquired, and that was tq 
play jigs upon a harpsichord ; having taught himself with the oppor-i 
tunity of an old virginal of his landlady's ; but in such a manner, nol 
for defect, but figure, as to see him were a jest. The king observing him 
to be of a free disposition, loyal, friendly, and without greediness or 
guile, thought of him to be the Chief Justice of the King's Bench at that 
nice time. And the ministry could not but approve of it. So great a 
weight was then at stake as could not be trusted to men. of doubtful 
principles, or such as anything might tempt to desert tnem. While he 
sat in the Court of King's Bench, he gave the rule to the general satis- 
faction of the lawyers. But his course of life was so different from what 
it had beon, his business incessant and withal crabbed ; and his diet anC 

Essay 3. 241 

exercise changecl, that the constitution of his body, or head rather, could 
not sustain it, and he fell into an apoplexy and palsy, which numbed his 
parts ; and he never recovered the strength of them. He outlived the 
judgment in the quo warranto ; but was not present otherwise than by 
sending his opinion by one of the judges, to be for the king, who at the 
pronouncing of the judgment, declared it to the court accordingly, which 
is frequently done in like cases. 


Proinde si videbUur, fingant isti me latrunculis interim animi causa lusisse, out si malint 
eguitusse in arundine long a. If am gum tandem est iniquitas, cum. omni vitce instituto siios 
lusus concedamus, studiis nullum omnino Vusum permittere : maxime si ita tractentur 
ludicra, vt ex his aliguanto plus frugis referat lector non omnino naris obesoe quam ex 
qimrundam, tetricis ac splendiiiis argumentis. Erasmi Prcef. ad. JUor. £nc. 

{Translation.) — They may pretend, if they like, that I amuse myself with playing at fox 
and goose, or, if they prefer it, equitasse in anindine longa, that I ride the cockhorse on my 
grandam's crutch. But wherein, I pray, consists the unfairness or impropriety, when every 
trade and profession is allowed its own sport and travesty, in extending the same permission 
to literature ; especially if trifles are so handled, that a reader of tolerable quickness may 
occasionally derive more food for profitable reflection than from many a work of grand or 
gloomy argument ? 

IRUS, the forlorn Irus, whose nourishment consisted in bread and 
water, whose clothing of one tattered mantle, and whose bed of an 
armful of straw, this same Irus, by a rapid transition of fortune, be- 
came the most prosperous mortal under the sun. It pleased the gods to 
snatch him at once out of the dust, and to place him by the side of 
princes. He beheld himself in the possession of incalculable treasures. 
His palace excelled even the temple of the gods in the pomp of its orna- 
ments ; his least sumptuous clothing was of purple and gold, and his 
table might well have been named the compendium of luxury, the sum- 
mary of all that the voluptuous ingenuity of men had invented for the 
gratification of the palate. A numerous train of admiring dependants 
followed him at every step ; those to whom he vouchsafed a gracious 
look were esteemed already in the high road of fortune, and the favoured 
individual who was permitted to kiss his hand appeared to be the ob- 
ject of common envy. The name of Irus sounding in his ears an un 
welcome memento and perpetual reproach of his former poverty ; he for 
this reason named himself Ceraunius, or the Lightning- flasher, and the 
whole people celebrated this splendid change of title by public rejoicings. 
The poet, who a few years ago had personified poverty itself under his 
former name of Irus, now made a discovery which had till that moment 
:emained a profound secret, but was now received by all with implicit 
faith and warmest approbation. Jupiter, forsooth, had become enam- 
Olired of the mother of CerauniuH, una assumed the form of a mortal in 
order to enjoy her love. Henceforward they erected altars to him, they 

242 The Second Landing Place. 

Bwore by his nane, and the priests discovered iu the entrails of the sacri- 
ficial victim, that the great Ceraunius, this worthy son of Jupiter, was 
the sole pillar of the Western world. Toxaris, his former neighbour, a 
man whom good fortune, unwearied industry, and rational frugality, 
had placed among the richest citizens, became the first victim of the 
pride of this new demi-god. In the time of his poverty Irus had re* 
pined at his luck and prosperity, and irritable from distress and envy, 
had conceived that Toxaris had looked contemptuouslj'' on him ; and 
now was the time that Ceraunius would make him feel the power of 
him, whose father grasped the thunder-bolt. Three advocates, newly 
admitted into the recently established order of the Cygnet, gave e^-ideiiue 
that Toxaris had denied the gods, committed peculations on the sacred 
treasury, and increased his treasures by acts of sacrilege. He was hur- 
ried off to prison and sentenced to an ignominious death, and his wealth 
confiscated to the use of Ceraunius, the earthly representative of tlie 
deities. Ceraunius now found nothing wanting to his felicity but u 
bride worthy of his rank and blooming honours. The most illustrious oi 
the laud were candidates for his alliance. Euphorbia, the daughter ot 
the noble Austrius, was honoured with his final choice. To nobility ot 
birth nature had added for Euphorbia a rich dowry of beauty, a nobleness 
both of look and stature. The flowing ringlets of her hair, her lofty fore- 
head, her brilliant eyes, her stately figure, her majestic gait, had enchanted 
the haughty Ceraunius : and all the bards told what the inspiring Muses 
iad revealed to them, that Venus more than once had pined with jealousy 
at the sight of her superior charms. The day of espousal arrived, and the 
illustrious son of Jove was proceeding in pomp to the temple, when the 
anguish-stricken wife of Toxaris, with his innocent children, suddenly 
threw themselves at his feet, and with loud lamentations entreated him tc 
spare the life of her husband. Enraged by this interruption, Ceraunius 
spurned her from him with his feet and — Inis awoke, and found him- 
self lying on the same straw on which he had lain down, and with his old 
tattered mantle spread over him. With his returning reason, conscience 
too returned. He praised the gods, and resigned himself to his lot. 
Ceraunius indeed had vanished, but the innocent Toxaris was still alive, 
and Irus poor yet guiltless. 

Can my reader recollect no character now on earth, who sometime or 
other will awake from his dream of empire, poor as Irus, with all the 
gmlt aal impiety of Ceraunius ? 

P.S. The reader will bear in mind, that this fable was written and 
first pablished, at the close of 1809 : — 

{)i\8ty 6e Ts i^ttios eyvu. 

Essay 3. 243 


Extracted from Satyrcme's Letters. 

There is a Christmas custom here which pleased and interested me. 
The children make little presents to their parents, and to each other 
and the parents to the children. For three or four months before Christ- 
mas the girls are all busy, and the boys save up their pocket>-money, to 
make or purchase these presents. What the present is to be is cautiously 
kept secret, and the girls have a world of contrivances to conceal it — 
such as working when they are out on visits and the others are not with 
them: getting up in the morning before day- light, &c. Then on the 
evening before Christmas-day one of the parlours is lighted u.p by the 
children, into which the parents must not go. A great yew bough is 
fastened on the table at a little distance from the wall, a multitude of 
little tapers are fastened in the bough, but so as not to catch it till they 
are nearly burnt out, and coloured paper, &c., hangs and flutters from 
the twigs. Under this bough the children lay out in great order the 
presents they mean for their parents, still concealing in their pockets 
what they intend for each other. Then the parents are introduced, and 
each presents his little gift, and then bring out the rest one by one from 
their pockets, and present them with kisses and embraces. Where I 
witnessed this scene there were eight or nine children, and the eldest 
daughter and the mother wept aloud for joy and tenderness ; and the 
tears ran down the face of the father, and he clasped all his children so 
tight to his breast, it seemed as if he did it to stifle the sob that was 
rising within him. I was very much affected. The shadow of the 
, bough and its appendages on the wall, and arching over on the ceiling, 
made a pretty picture — and then the raptures of the very little ones, 
when at last the twigs and their needles began to take fire and snap — Oh 
it was a delight for them ! On the next day, in the great parlour, the 
parents lay out on the table the presents for the children : a scene ot 
more sober joy succeeds, as on this day, after an old custom, the mother 
says privately to each of her daughters, and the father to his sons, that 
which he has observed most praiseworthy and that which was most 
faulty in their conduct. Formerly, and still in all the smaller tcwna 
and villages throughout North Germany, these presents were sent by all 
the parents to some one fellow who in high buskins, a white robe, a 
mask, and an enormous flax wig, personates Knecht Eupert, i. e. the 
servant Eupert. On Cliristmas night he goes round to every house and 
says, that Jesus Christ his Master sent him thither ; the parents and elder 
children receive him with great pomp ot reverence, while the little ones 
are most terribly frightened. He then inquires for the children, and ac- 
cordino- to the character which he hears from the parent he gives tht'ra 

244 The Second Landing-i'lace. 

the intended present, as if they came out of heaven from Jesus 
Christ. Or, if they should bave been bad children, he gives the paients 
a rod, and in the name of his Master recommends them to use it fre- 
quently. About seven or eight years old the children are let into the 
secret, and it is curious how faithfully they keep it ! 


The whole lake of Ratzeburg is one mass of thick transparent ice — a 
spotless mirror of nine miles in extent ! The lowness of the hills, which 
rise from the shores of the lake, precludes the awful sublimity of Alpine 
scenery, yet compensates for the want of it by beauties of which this 
very lowness is a necessary condition. Yester-morning I saw the lesset 
lake completely hidden by mist ; but the moment the sun peeped over 
the hill, the mist broke in the middle, and in a few seconds stood 
divided, leaving a broad road all across the lake ; and between these two 
walls of mist the sunlight burnt upon the ice, forming a road of golden 
fire, intolerably bright ! and the mist-walls themselves partook of the 
blaze in a multitude of shining colours. This is our second frost. 
About a month ago, before the thaw came on, there was a storm of 
wind ; during the whole night, such were the thunders and bowlings of 
the breaking ice, that they have left a conviction on my mind, that there 
are sounds more sublime than any sight can be, more absolutely 
suspending the power of comparison, and more utterly absorbing the 
mind's self-consciousness in its total attention to the object working 
upon it. Part of the ice, which the vehemence of the wind had shattered, 
was driven shoreward and froze anew. On the evening of the next day, 
at sunset, the shattered ice thus frozen, appeared of a deep blue and in 
shape like an agitated sea ; beyond this, the water, that ran up between 
the great islands of ice which had preserved their masses entire and 
smooth, shone of a yellow green ; but all these scattered ice-islands 
themselves, were of an intensely bright blood colour — they seemed 
blood and light in union ! On some of the largest of these islands, the 
fishermen stood pulling out their immense nets through the holes made 
in the ice for this purpose, and the men, their net-poles, and their huge 
nets, were a part of the glory ; say rather, it appeared as if the rich 
crimson light had shaped itself into these forms, figures, and attitudes, 
to make a glorious vision in mockery of earthly things. 

The lower lake is now all alive with skaters, and with ladies driven 
onward by them in their ice cars. Mercury, surely, was the fii'st 
maker of skates, and the wings at his feet are symbols of the in- 
vention. In skating there are three pleasing circumstances : the 
infinitely subtle particles of ice which the skate cuts up, and which 
creep and run before the skate like a low mist, and iu sunrise or sunse< 

ich 1 
set J 

HJssay 3. 245 

become coloured ; second, the shadow of the skater in the water, seen 
through the transparent ice ; and third, the melancholy undulating 
sound from the skate, not without variety ; and when very many are 
skating together, the sounds and the noises give an impulse to the icy 
trees, and the woods all round the lake tinkle. 

Here I stop, having in truth transcribed the preceding in gi'eat mea- 
sure, in order to present the lovers of poetry with a descriptive passage, 
extracted, with the author's permission, from an unpublished poem on 
the growth and revolutions of an individual mind, by Wordsworth : — 

an Orphic tale indeed, 
A tale divine of high and passionate thoughts 
To their own music cbaunted ! S. T. C. 


Wisdom and spirit of the universe ! 

Thou soul, that art the eternity of thought ! 

And giv'st to forms and images a breath 

And everlasting motion ! not In vain. 

By day or starlight, thus from my first dawn 

Of childhood didst thou intertwine for me 

The passions that build up our human soul, 

Nor with the mean and vulgar worlss of man. 

But with high objects, with enduring things, 

With life and nature ; purifying thus 

The elements of feeling and of thought, 

And sanctifying by sucli discipline 

Both pain and fear, until we recognize 

A grandeur in the beatings of the heart. 

Nor was this fellowship vouchsafed to me 
With stinted kindness. In November days 
When vapours rolling down the valleys made 
A lonely scene more lonesome ; among woods 
At noon, and mid the calm of summer nights. 
When by the margin of the trembling lake. 
Beneath the gloomy hills I homeward went 
In solitude, such intercourse was mine ; 
'Twas mine am-'-j; the fields both day and night, 
And by the waters all tlie summer long. 

And in the frosty season when the sun 
Was set, and, visible for many a mile 
The cottage windows through the twilight blazed, 
I heeded not the summons :— happy time 
it was indeed for all of us, to me 
It was a time of rapture ! clear and loud 
The village clock toU'd six ! I wheel'd about. 
Proud and exulting, like an untir'd horse 
That card not for its home.— All shod with steel 
We hiss'd aloi}g the polish'd ice, in games 
Confederate, imitative of the chaso 
And woodland pleasures, the resounding uora. 
The pack loud bellowing, and the hunted hare, 
go through the darkness and the cold we flew. 

246 Tfie Second Landing -Place 

And not a voice was idle : with the din 
Meanwhile the precipices rang aloud. 
The leafless trees and every icy crag 
Tinkled lilie iron, while the distant hills 
Into the tumult sent an alien sound 
Of melancholy— not unnoticed, while the etani. 
Eastward, were sparliling clear, and in the west 
The orange sky of evening died away. 

Not seldom from the uproar 1 retired 
Into a silent bay, or sportively 
Glano'd sideway, leaving the tumultuous throng 
To cut across the image of a star 
That gleam'd upon the ice : and oftentimes 
When we had given our bodies to the wind, 
And all the shadowy banks on either side 
Came sweeping through the darkness spinning still 
The rapid line of motion, then at once 
Have 1 reclining back upon my heels 
Stopp'd short : yet still the solitary cliffs 
Wheel'd by me even as if the earth had roU'd 
With visible motion her diurnal round ! 
Behind me did they stretch in solemn train 
Feebler and feebler, and I stood and watch'd 
Till ail was tranquil as a summer sea. 

ESSAY ly. 

Es istfast traurig nu sehen, viie man von der Hebraischen QueVen so gam sich abgaoeniel 
hat. [n JEgyptens selhst dunkeln unentrathsdbaren Hieroglyphen hoi man den SchlMssd 
alter Weisheit suchen wollen ; jetzt ist von nichts als Indiens Sprache und Weisheit die Rede ; 
aber die Eabiinische Schriften liegen unerforscht, Schelling. 

(TransJation.) — It Is mournful to observe, how ailirely we have turned our backs on the 
Hebrew sources. In the obscure Insolvable riddles of the Egyptian hieroglyphics the learned 
have been hoping to find the key of ancient doctrine, and now we hear of nothing but the 
language and wisdom of India, while the writings and traditions of the Rabbins are consigned 
to neglect without examination. 


DURING his march to conquer the world, Alexander the Macedonian 
came to a people in Africa, who dwelt in a remote and secluded comei 
in peaceful huts, and knew neither war nor conqueror. They led him 
to the hut of their chief, who received him hospitably and placed before 
him golden dates, golden figs, and bread of gold. Do you eat gold in 
this country ? said Alexander. — I take it for granted (replied the chief) 
that thou wert able to find eatable food in thine own country. For 
what reason then art thou come among us? Your gold has not tempted 
roe hither, said Alexander, but I would willingly become acquainted 
with your manners and customs. — So be it, rejoined the other, sojourn 
among us as long as it pleaseth thee. At the close of this conversation 
two citizens entered as into their court of justice. The plaintiff said, 1 
bought of this man a piece of land, and as I was making a deep drain 
through it I found a treasure. This is not mine, for I only bargained 


Essay 4. 247 

for the land, and not for any treasure that might he concealed he Heath 
it: and yet the former owner of the land will not receive it. — The 
defendant answered: I hope I have a conscience as well as my fellow- 
citizen. I sold him the land with all its contingent, as well as existing 
advantages, and consequently the treasure inclusively. 

The chief, who was at the same time their supreme judge, reca- 
pitulated their words, in order that the parties might see whether or no 
he understood them aright. Then after some reflection said : Thou hast 
a son, friend, I believe? — Yes! And thou (addressing the other) a 
daughter? — Yes! Well then, let thy son marry thy daughter, and 
bestow the treasure on the young couple for their marriage portion. 
Alexander seemed surprised and perplexed- Think you my sentence 
unjust? the chief asked him.— no, replied Alexander, but it astonishes 
me. And how, then, rejoined the chief, would the case have been 
decided in your country? — To confess the truth, said Alexander, we 
should have taken both parties into custody and have seized the treasure 
for the king's use. For the king's use ! exclaimed the chief, now in his 
turn astonished. Does the sun shine on that country ? — O yes ! Does 
it rain there ? — Assuredly. Wonderful ! but are there tame animals in 
the country that live on the grass and green herbs ? — Very many, and ot 
many kinds. Aye, that must be the cause, said the chief: for the sake 
of those innocent animals the All-gracious Being continues to let the 
sun shine and the rain drop down on your country. 


Such a treasure had the celebrated teacher Rabbi Meir found. He 
sat during the whole of one Sabbath day in the public school, and in- 
structed the people. During his absence from his house his two sons 
died, both of them of uncommon beauty and enlightened in the law. 
His wife bore thetn to her bed-chamber, laid them them upon the 
marriage-bed, and spread a white covering over their bodies. In the 
evening Rabbi Meir came home. Where are my two sons, he asked, 
tiiat I may give them my blessing ?— They are gone to the school, was 
the answer. I repeatedly looked round the school, he replied, and I 
did not see them there. She reached to him a goblet, he praised the Lord 
at the going out of tiie Sabbath, drank, and again asked : Where are my 
felons that they too may drink of the cup of blessing ?— They will not be 
far off, she said, and placed food before him that he might eat. Pie 
was in a gladsome and genial mood, and when he had said grace after 
the meal, she thus addressed him : Rabbi, with thy permission I would 
foin projwse to thee one question.— Ask it then, my love ! he replied, 
A few days ago, a person entrusted some jewels to my custody, 

248 The Second Landing-Flace. 

and now he demands them again : should 1 give them back ? — Thil 
is a question, said Eabbi Meir, which my wife should not have 
thought it necessary to ask. What, wouldst thou hesitate, or be 
reluctant to restore to every one his own ? — ISTo, she replied ; but yet I 
thought it best not to restore them without acquainting thee therewith. 
She then led him to their chamber, and stepping to the bed, took the 
white covering from the dead bodies. Ah, my sons, my sons, thus 
loudly lamented the father, my sons, the light of mine eyes and the 
light of my understanding, I was your father, but ye were my teachers 
in the law. The mother turned away and wept bitterly. At length 
she took her husband by the hand and said, Rabbi, didst thou not teach 
me that we must not be reluctant to restore that which was entrusted 
to our keeping ? See, the Lord gave, the Lord hath taken away, and 
blessed be the name of the Lord ! Blessed be the name of the Lord ! 
echoed Rabbi Meir, and blessed be His name for thy sake too ! for well 
is it written, Whoso hath found a virtuous wife hath a greater treasure 
than costly pearls : she openeth her mouth with wisdom, and in her 
tongue is the law of kindness. 



Tour Grod in His book calls Himself a jealous God, who can endure 
no other God beside Himself, and on all occasions makes rKianifest His 
abhorrence of idolatry. How comes it then that He threatens and 
seems to hate the worshippers of false gods more than the false gods 
themselves. — A certain king, replied the Rabbi, had a disobedient son. 
Among other worthless tricks of various kinds, he had the baseness to 
give his dogs his father's names and titles. Should the king show 
his anger on the prince or the dogs ? Well turned, rejoined the philo- 
sopher : but if your God destroyed the objects of idolatry He would take 
away the temptation to it. — Yea, retorted the Rabbi, if the fools wor- 
shipped such things only as were of no further use than that to which 
their folly applied them, if the idol were always as worthless as the 
idolatry is contemptible. But they worship the sun, the moon, the host 
of heaven, the rivers, the sea, fire, air, and what not ? Would you 
that the Creator, for the sake of these fools, should ruin His own works, 
and disturb the laws appointed to nature by His own wisdom ? If a 
man steals grain and sows it, should the seed not shoot i^p out of the 
earth, because it was stolen ? no ! the wise Creator lets nature run 
her own course ; for her course is His own appointment. And what if 
the children of folly abuse it to evil ? The day of reckoning is not far 
off, and men will then learn that human actions likewise reappear in 
their consequences by as certain a law as the green blade rises up out (* 
the baried corn-seed. 

Introduction. 249 




Hapd Se'^TOv ttji' epvoiav Tou Kara ^vaiv ^riV koX to it4)J.vov 07r\doTios, ui(m xo\aK6('a4 
pici' Tracrrjs TrpocnjveaTepav elcai ttjv o^tAiai' dvTOu, dtSecrinwraTOi' Se Trap' dvTo;' cKtivoi' Tb» 
icaipov eti/at* Ka"l cijaa jitei' (XTra^eo'TaTOi' eSrat, a/xa 5e (|>tAocrTOp'y6TaToi'' koX to t5etr aydptairov 
Tcu^iis cAdxiiTTOj' TO)!' eavTou KaXCiv ^youfievov ti)v auTou noXviiaOCrfV- 

M. ANTON- ^i|3. a. 

(^Translation.^ — From Sextus, and from the contemplation of his character, I learnt what 
it was to live a life in harmony with nature ; and that seemliness and dignity of deportment 
which insured the profoundest reverence at the very same time that his company was more 
winning than all the flattery in the world. To him I owe likewise that I have known a man 
at once the most dispassionate and the most affectionate, and who of all his attractions set 
the least value on the multiplicity of his literary acquisitions. M. Anton. Book I. 

To the Editor of the Friend. 

1H0PE you will not ascribe to presumption the liberty I take in 
addressing you on the subject of your work. I feel deeply in- 
terested in the cause you have undertaken to support ; and my object 
in writing this letter is to describe to you, in part from my own feelings, 
what I conceive to be the state of many minds, which may derive im- 
portant advantage from your instructions. 

I speak, Sir, of those who, though bred up under our unfavourable 
system of education, have yet held at times some intercourse with 
nature, and with those great minds whose works have been moulded by 
the spirit of nature : who, therefore, when they pass from the seclusion 
and constraint of early study, bring with them into the new scene of the 
world much of the pure sensibility which is the spring of all that is 
greatly good in thought and action. To such the season of that entrance 
mto the world is a season of fearful importance ; not for the seduction 
of its passions, but of its opinions. Whatever be their intellectual 
powers, unless extraordinary circumstances in their lives have been so 
favourable to the growth of meditative genius that their speculative 
opinions must spring out of their early feelings, their minds are still at 
the mercy of fortune ; they have no inward impulse steadily to propel 
them, and oust trust to the chances of the world for a guide. And 
guch 'is our present moral and intellectual state that these chances are 
little else than variety of danger. There will be a thousand causes con- 
epirino- to complete the work of a false education, and by enclosing tha 

250 Inlrodudion. 

mind on every side from the influences of natural feeling, to degraib 
inborn dignity, and finally bring the heart itself tinder subjection to a 
corrupted understanding. I am anxious to describe to you what I have 
experienced or seen of the dispositions and feelings that will aid every 
other cause of danger, and tend to lay the mind open to the infection of 
all those falsehoods in opinion and sentiment, which constitute the de- 
generacy of the age. 

Though it would not be difficult to prove that the mind of the country 
is much enervated since the days of her strength, and brought down 
from its moral dignity, it is not yet so forlorn of all good — there is 
nothing in the face of the times so dark, and saddening, and repulsive — 
as to shock the first feelings of a generous spirit, and drive it at once to 
seek refuge in the elder ages of our greatness. There yet survives so 
much of the character bred up through long years of liberty, danger, and 
glory, that even what this age produces bears traces of those that are 
past, and it still yields enough of beautiful, and splendid, and bold, to 
captivate an ardent but untutored imagination. And in this real excel- 
lence is the beginning of danger ; for it is the first spring of that exces- 
sive admiration of the age which at last brings down to its own level a 
mind born above it. If there existed only the general disposition of all 
who are formed with a high capacity for good, to be rather credulous of 
excellence than suspiciously and severely'just, the error would not be 
carried far ; but there are, to a young mind, in this country and at this 
time, numerous powerful causes concurring to inflame this disposition, 
till the excess of the afl^ection above the worth of its object is beyond 
all computation. To trace these causes it will be necessary to follow 
the history of a pure and noble mind from the first moment of that 
critical passage from seclusion to the world, which changes all the cir- 
cumstances of its intellectual existence, shows it for the first time the 
real scene of living men, and calls up the new feeling of numerous rela- 
tions by which it is to be connected with them. 

To the young adventurer in life, who enters iipon his course with such 
a mind, everything seems made for delusion. He comes with a spirit 
whose dearest feelings and highest thoughts have sprung up under the 
influences of nature; he transfers to the realities of life the high wild 
fancies of visionary boyhood ; he brings with him into the world the 
passions of solitary and untamed imagination, and hopes which he has 
learned from dreams. Those dreams have been of the great, and wonderful, 
and lovely, of all which in these has yet been disclosed to him ; his thoughts 
have dwelt among the wonders of nature, and among the loftiest spints 
of men — heroes, and sages, and saints ; those whose deeds, and thoughts, 
and hopes, were high above ordinary mortality, have been the familiar 
companions of his souL To love and to admire has been the joy of his 
existence. Love and admiration are the pleasures he will demand of tha 


Introduction. 251 

world. For these he has searched eagerly into the ages that are gone ; 
but with more ardent and peremptory expectation he requires them of 
that in which his own lot is cast : for to look on life with hopes of hap- 
piness is a necessity of his nature, and to him there is no happiness but 
sucli as is surrounded with excellence. 

See first how this spirit will affect his judgment of moral character, in 
those with whom chance may connect him in the common relations of 
life. It is of those with whom he is to live that his soul first demands 
this food of her desires. From their conversation, their looks, their 
actions, their lives, she asks for excellence. To ask from all and to ask 
in vain would he too dismal to hear ; it would disturb him too deeply 
with doubt, and perplexity, and fear. In this hope, and in the revolting 
of his thoughts from the possibility of disappointment, there is a pre- 
paration for self-delusion ; there is an unconscious determination that his 
soul shall be satisfied ; an obstinate will to find good everywhere. And 
thus his first study of mankind is a continued effort to read in them the 
expression of his own feelings. He catches at every uncertain show and 
shadowy resemblance of what he seeks ; and unsuspicious in innocence, 
he is first won with those appearances of good which are in fact only 
false pretensions. But this error is not carried far ; for there is a sort 
of instinct of rectitude, which like the pressure of a talisman given to 
baffle the illusions of enchantment, warns a pure mind against hypocrisy. 
— There is another delusion more difficult to resist and more slowly dis- 
sipated. It is when he finds, as he often will, some of the real features 
of excellence in the purity of their native form. For then his rapid 
imagination will gather round them all the kindred features that are 
wanting to perfect beauty ; and make for him, where he could not find, 
the moral creature of his expectation ; — peopling, even from this human 
world, his little circle of affection, with forms as fair as his heart desired 
for its love. 

But when, from the eminence of life which he has reached, he lifts up 
his eyes, and sends out his spirit to range over the great scene that is 
opening before him and around him — the whole prospect of civiUzed 
life_so wide and so magnificent;— when he begins to contemplate, in 
their various stations of power or splendour, the leaders of mankind ; 
those men on whose wisdom are hung the fortunes of nations ; those 
whose genius and valour wield the heroism of a people ; or those, in no 
-inferior" " pride of place," whose sway is over the mind of society, chiefs 
in the realm of imagination, interpreters of the secrets of nature, 
rulers of human opinion ;— what wonder, when he looks on all this 
livino- scene, that his heart should burn with strong affection, that he 
siioufd feel that his own happiness will be for ever interwoven with the 
interests of mankind ?— Here then the sanguine hope with which he 
looks on life will again be blended with his passionate desire o excel- 

252 Introduction. 

lence ; and he will still be impelled to single out some, on whom his 
imagination and his hopes may repose. To whatever department of 
human thought or action his mind is turned with interest, either by the 
Bway of public passion or by its own impulse, among statesmen, and 
warriors, and philosophers, and poets, he will distinguish some favoured 
names on which he may satisfy his admiration. And there, just as in 
the little circle of his own acquaintance, seizing eagerly on every merit 
they possess, he will supply more from his own credulous hope, com- 
pleting real with imagined excellence, till living men, with all their 
imperfections, become to him the representatives of his perfect ideal 
creation ; till, multiplying his objects of reverence, as he enlarges his 
prospect of life, he will have surrounded himself with idols of his own 
hands, and his imagination will seem to discern a glory in the counte- 
nance of the age, which is but the reflection of its own effulgence. 

He will possess, therefore, in the creative power of generous hope, a 
preparation for illusory and exaggerated admiration of the age in which 
he lives ; and this predisposition will meet with many favouring cir- 
cumstances, when he has grown up under a system of education like 
ours, which (as perhaps all education must that is placed in the hands Oi 
a distinct and embodied class, who therefore bring to it the pecuhar and 
hereditary prejudices of their order) has controlled his imagination to a 
reverence of former times, with an unjust contempt of his own. For no 
sooner does he break loose from this control, and begin to feel, as he 
contemplates the world for himself, how much there is surrounding him 
on all sides that gratifies his noblest desires, than there springs up in 
him an indignant sense of injustice, both to the age and to his own 
mind ; and he is impelled warmly and eagerly to give loose to the feel- 
ings that have been held in bondage, to seek out and to delight in finding 
excellence that will vindicate the insulted world, while it justifies too 
his resentment of his own undue subjection, and exalts the value of his 
new-found liberty. 

Add to this, that secluded as he has been from knowledge, and, in the 
imprisoning circle of one system of ideas, cut off from his share in the 
thoughts and feelings that are stirring among men, he finds himself, at 
the first steps of his liberty, in a new intellectual world. Passions and 
powers which he knew not of start up in his soul. The human mind, 
which he had seen but imder one aspect, now presents to him a thousand 
unknown and beautiful forms. He sees it, in its varying powers, 
glancing over nature with restless curiosity, and with impetuous energy 
striving for ever against the barriers which she has placed around it ; 
gees it with divine i)ower creating from dark materials living beauty, and 
fixing all its high and transported fancies in imperishable forms. In the 
world of knowledge, and science, and art, and genius, he treads as a 
stranger ; in the confusion of new sensations, bewildered in delights, all 


Introduction. 253 

seems beautiful, all seems admirable. And therefore be engages eagerly 
in the pursuit of false or insufficient philosophy ; he is won by the 
allurements of licentious art ; be follows with wonder the irregular 
transports of undisciplined imagtaation. Nor, where the objects of bis 
admiration are worthy, is he yet skilful to distinguish between the ac- 
quisitions which the age has made for itself, and that large proportion 
of its wealth which it has only inherited ; but in his delight of discovery 
and growing knowledge, all that is new to his own mind seems to him 
new born to the world. To himself every fresh idea appears instruction ; 
every new exertion, acquisition of power : he seems just called to the 
consciousness of himself, and to his true place in the intellectual world ; 
and gratitude and reverence towards those to whom he owes this recovery 
of his dignity, tend much to subject him to the dominion of minds that 
were not formed by nature to be the leaders of opinion. 

All the tumult and glow of thought and imagination, which seize on 
a mind of power in such a scene, tend irresistibly to bind it by stronger 
attachment of love and admiration to its own age. And there is one 
among the new emotions which belong to its entrance on the world, 
one — almost the noblest of all — in which this exaltation of the age is 
essentially mingled. The faith in the perpetual progression of human 
nature towards perfection, gives birth to such lofty dreams as secure to 
it the devout assent of imagination ; and it will be yet more grateful to 
a heart just opening to hope, flushed with the consciousness of new 
strength, and exulting in the prospect of destined achievements. There 
is, therefore, almost a compulsion on generous and enthusiastic spirits, 
as they trust that the future shall transcend the present, to believe that 
the present transcends the past. It is only on an undue love and 
admiration of their own age, that they can build their confidence in the 
amelioration of the human race. Nor is this ftiith — which, in some 
shape, will always be the creed of virtue — without apparent reason, even 
in the erroneous form in which the young adopt jt. For there is a per- 
petual acquisition of knowledge and art, an unceasing progress in many 
of the modes of exertion of the human mind, a perpetual unfolding of 
virtues with the changing manners of society ; and it is not for a young 
mind to compare what is gained with what has passed away ; to discern 
that amidst the incessant intellectual activity of the race, the intellectual 
power of individual minds may be falling off, and that amidst accumu- 
lating knowledge lofty science may disappear; and still less to judge, 
in the more complicated moral character of a people, what is progression 
and -what is decline. 

Into a mind possessed with this persuasion of the perpetual progress 
of man there may even imperceptibly steal, both from the belief itself 
and from many of the views on which it rests, something IIks a dis- 
trust of the wisdom of great men of form&T ages, and with the reverenw 

254 Introduction. 

— which no delusion will ever overpower in a puie mind — for theil 
greatness, a fancied discernment of imperfection ; — of incomplete excel- 
lence, which wanted for its accomplishment the advantages of later 
improvements : there will be a surprise, that so much should have 
been possible in times so ill prepared; and even the study of their 
works may be sometimes rather the curious research of a speculative 
inquirer than the devout contemplation of an enthusiast, the watchful 
and obedient heart of a disciple listening to the inspiration of bis 

H-sre then ia the power of delusion that will gather round the first 
steps of a youthful spirit, and throw enchantment over the world in 
which it is to dwell : — hope realizing its own dreams, ignorance 
dazzled and ravished with sudden sunshine, power awakened and 
rejoicing in its own consciousness, enthusiasm kindling among mul- 
tiplying images of greatness and beauty ; and enamoured, above all, 
of one splendid error ; and springing from all these, such a rapture of 
life, and hope, and joy, that the soul, in the power of its happiness, 
transmutes things essentially repugnant to it into the excellence of its 
own nature : these are the spells that cheat the eye of the mind with 
illusion. It is under these influences that a young man of ardent 
spirit gives all his love, and reverence, and zeal, to productions of art, 
to theories of science, to opinions, to systems of feeling, and to cha- 
racters distinguished in the world, that are far beneath his own original 

Now as this delusion springs not from his worse but his better 
nature, it seems as if there could be no warning to him from within oi 
his danger ; for even the impassioned joy which he draws at times from 
the works of Nature, and from those of her mightier sons, and which 
would startle him from a dream of unworthy passion, serves only tr 
fix the infatuation : for those deep emotions, proving to him that his 
heart is uncorrupted, justify to him all its workings, and his mind con- 
fiding and delighting in itself, yields to the guidance of its own blind 
impulses of pleasure. His chance, therefore, of security is, the chance 
that the greater number of objects occurring to attract his honourable 
passions may be worthy of them. But we have seen that the whole 
power of circumstances is collected to gather round him such objects 
and influences as will bend his high passions to unworthy enjoyment. 
He engages in it with a heart and understanding unspoiled ; but they 
cannot long be misapplied with impunity. They are drawn gradually 
into closer sympathy with the falsehoods they have adopted, till his 
very nature seeming to change under the corruption, there disappears 
from it the capacity of those higher perceptions and pleasures to which 
he was born, and he is cast off from the communion of exalted minda, 
to live and to perish with the age to which he has surrendered himtelf. 

Introduction. 265 

Ifmiuds under these circumstances of danger are preserved from 
decay and overthrow, it can seldom, I think; be to themselves that they 
owe their deliverance. It must he to a fortunate chance which places 
them under the influence of some more enlightened mind, from which 
they may first gain suspicion and afterwards wisdom. There is a phi- 
losophy, which, leading them by the light of their best emotions to the 
principles which should give life to thought and law to genius, will 
discover to them, in clear and perfect evidence, the falsehood of the 
errors that have misled them, and restore them to themselves. And 
this philosophy they will be willing to hear and wise to understand ; 
but they must be led into its mysteries by some guiding hand, for 
they want the impulse or the power to penetrate of themselves the 

If a superior mind should assume the protection of others just begin- 
ning to move anaong the dangers I have described, it would probably 
be found, that delusions springiug from their own virtuous activity 
were not the only difficulties to be encountered. Even after suspicion 
is awakened, the subjection to falsehood may he prolonged and deepened 
by many weaknesses both of the intellectual and moral nature ; weak- 
nesses that will sometimes shake the authority of acknowledged truth. 
There may be intellectual indolence, an indisposition in the mind to 
the effort of combining the ideas it actually possesses, and bringing into 
distinct form the knowledge which in its elements is already its own ; 
there may be, where the heart resists the sway of opinion, misgivings and 
modest self-mistrust, in him who sees, that if he trusts his heart, he 
must slight the judgment of all around him ; there may he too habitual 
yielding to authority, consisting, more than in indolence or diffidence, 
in a conscious helplessness, and incapacity of the mind to maintain 
itself in its own place against the weight of geneial opinion ; and there 
may be too indiscriminate, too undisciplined a sympathy with others, 
which by the mere infection of feeling will subdue the reason. There 
must be a weakness in dejection to him who thinks, with sadness, if 
his faith be pure, how gross is the error of the multitude, and that 
multitude how vast ; a reluctance to embrace a creed that excludes so 
many whom he loves, so many whom his youth has revered ; a difficulty 
to his undertanding to believe that those whom he knows to be, in 
much that is good and honourable, his superiors, can he beneath him in 
this which is the most important of all ; a sympathy pleading impor- 
tunately at his heart to descend to the fellowship of his brothers, and 
to take their faith and wisdom for his own. How often, when under the 
impulses of those solemn hours, in which he has felt with clearer insight 
and deeper faith his sacred truths, he labours to win to his own belief 
those whom he loves, will he be checked by their indifference or theii 
laughter 1 an i will he not bear back to his meditations a painful and di* 

256 Introduction. 

heartening sorrow, a gloomy discontent in thai, faith which takes in but 
a portion of those whom he wishes to include in all Ms blessings ? Wil 
lie not be enfeebled by a distraction of inconsistent desires, when he 
feels so strongly that the faith which fills his heart, the circles within 
which he would embrace all he loves — would repose all his wishes and 
hopes, and enjoyments, is yet incommensurate with his affections ? 

Even when the mind, strong in reason and just feeling united, and 
relying on its strength, has attached itself to truth, how much is there 
in the course and accidents of life that is for ever silently at work for 
its degradation ! There are pleasures, deemed harmless, that lay asleep 
the recollections of innocence ; there are pursuits held honourable, or 
imposed by duty, that oppress the moral spirit ; above all, there is 
that perpetual connection with, ordinary minds in the common inter- 
course of society ; that restless activity of frivolous conversation, where 
men of all characters and all pursuits mixing together, nothing may be 
talked of that is not of common interest to all — nothing, therefore, but 
those obvious thoughts and feelings that float over the surface of things, 
and all which is drawn from the depth of Nature, all which im- 
passioned feeling has made original ia thought, would be misplaced 
and obtrusive. The talent that is allowed to show itself is that whicff 
can repay admiration by furnishing entertainment ; and the display to 
which it is invited is that which flatters the vulgar pride of society, by 
abasing what is too high in excellence for its sympathy ; — a dangerous 
seduction to talents, which would make language — that was given to 
exalt the soul by the fervid expression of its pure emotions — the instru- 
ment of its degradation. And even when there is, as in the instance 1 
have supposed, too much uprightness to choose so dishonourable a 
triumph, there is a necessity of manners by which every one must be 
controlled who mixes miich in society, not to offend those with whom 
he converses by his superiority ; and whatever be the native spirit of a 
mind, it is evident that this perpetual adaptation of itself to others — 
this watchfulness against its own rising feelings, this studied sympathy 
with mediocrity — must pollute and impoverish the sources of its 

From much of its own weakness, and from all the errors of its mis- 
leading activities, may generous youth be rescued by the interposition 
of an enlightened mind ; and in some degree it may be guarded by 
instruction against the injuries to which it is exposed in the world. 
His lot is happy who owes this protection to friendship, who has found 
in a friend the watchful guardian of his mind. He will not be deluded, 
"having that light to guide ; he will not slumber, with that voice tc 
inspire ; he will not be desponding or dejected, with that bosom to lean 
on. But how many must there be whom Heaven has left unprovided, 
except in their own strength ; who must maintain themselves, unaa- 

Introduction. 257 

sisted and solitary, against their own infirmities and tlie opposition of 
the world! For such there may be yet a protector. If a teacher should 
stand up in their generation, conspicuous above the multitude in 
superior power, and yet more in the assertion and proclamation of dis- 
regarded truth ; to him— to his cheering or summoning voice— all hearts 
would turn, whose deep sensibility has been oppressed by the indif- 
ference, or misled by the seduction of the times. Of one such teacher 
who has been given to our own age you have described the power when 
you said, that in his annunciation of truths he seemed to speak in thun- 
ders. I believe that mighty voice has not been poured out in vain ; that 
there are hearts that have received into their inmost depths all its vary- 
ing tones ; and that even now, there are many to whom the name of 
Wordsworth calls up the recollection of their weakness and the con- 
sciousness of their strength. 

To give to the reason and eloquence of one man, this complete con- 
trol over the minds of others, it is necessary, I think, that he should 
be bom in their own times. For thus whatever false opinion of pre- 
eminence is attached to the age, becomes at once a title of reverence to 
him ; and when v?ith distinguished powers he sets himself apart from 
the age, and above it as the teacher of high but ill-understood truths, 
he will appear at once to a generous imagination in the dignity of one 
whose superior mind outsteps the rapid progress of society, and will de- 
rive from illusion itself the power to disperse illusions. It is probable 
too, that he who labours under the errors I have described might feel 
the power of truth in a writer of another age, yet fail in applying the 
full force of his principles to his own times ; but when he receives them 
from a living teacher, there is no room for doubt or misapplication. It 
is the errors of his own generation that are denounced ; and whatever 
authority he may acknowledge in the instructions of his master, strikes, 
with inevitable force, at his veneration for the opinions and characters 
of his own times. And finally there will be gathered round a living 
teacher, who speaks to the deeper soul many feelings of human love,, 
that will place the infirmities of the heart peculiarly under hig control!,. 
at the same time that they blend with and animate the attachment to 
his cause. So that there will flow from him something of the peculiar 
influence of a friend ; while his doctrines will be embraced and asserted 
and vindicated with the ardent zeal of a disciple, such as can scarcely be 
carried back to distant times, or connected with voices that speak only 
from the grave. 

I have done what I proposed. I have related to you as, much as I 
have had opportunities of knowing of the difficulties from within and 
from without, which may oppose the natural developement of true 
feelintr and right opinion, in a mind formed with some capacity for good;, 
and the resources which such a mind may derive frow an enlightened cou- 


258 Introduction. 

temporary writer. If what I have said be just, it is eortuin that thie 
influence will be felt more jsarticularly in a work adapted by its iTHHle 
of publir-ation to address the feelings of the time, and to bring to ita 
readers repeated admonition and repeated consolation. 

I have perhaps presumed too far in trespassing on your attention, and 
in giving way to my own thoughts ; but I was unwilling to leave any- 
thing unsaid which might induce you to consider with favour the request 
I was anxious to make, in the name of all whose state of mind I have 
described, that you would at times regard us more particularly in your 
instructions. I cannot judge to what degree it may be in your power 
to give the truth you teach a control over understandings that have 
matured their strength in error, but in our class I am sure you will 
have docile learners. Mathetes. 

The Friend might rest satisfied that his exertions thus far have not 
been wholly unprofitable, if no other proof had been given of their in- 
fluence than that of having called forth the foregoing letter, with which 
he has been so much interested that he could not deny himself the 
pleasure of communicating it to his readers. In answer to his corre- 
spondent, it need scareely here be repeated, that one of the main purposes 
of this work is to weigh, honestly and thoughtfully, the moral worth and 
intellectual power of the age in which we live; to ascertain our gain and 
our loss ; to determine what we are in ourselves positively, and what 
we are compared with our ancestors ; and thus, and by every other 
means within his power, to discover what may be hoped for future 
times, v/^hat and how lamentable are the evils to be feared, and how 
far there is cause for fear. If this attempt should not be made wholly 
in vain, my ingenuous correspondent, and all who are in a state of mind 
resembling that of which he gives so lively a picture, vdll be enabled 
more readily and surely to distinguish false from legitimate objects of 
admiration ; and thus may the personal errors which he would guard 
against be more effectually prevented or removed, by the developement 
of general truth for a general purpose, than by instructions specifically 
adapted to himself or to the class of which he is the able representative. 
There is a life and spirit in knowledge which we extract from truths 
scattered for the benefit of all, and which the mind, by its own activity, 
has appropriated to itself — a life and spirit, which is seldom found in 
knowledge communicated by formal and direct precepts, even when 
they are exalted and endeared by reverence and love for the teacher. 

Nevertheless, though I trust that the assistance which my correspon- 
dent has done me the honour to request, will in course of time flow 
naturally from my labours, in a manner that will best serve him, 1 can- 
not resist the inclination to connect, at present, with his letter a few re^ 
marks of direct application to the subject of it — remarks, I say, for to 


Introduction. 259 

Buch I shall confine myself, independent of the main point out of which 
his complaint arid request both proceed, I mean the assumed, inferiority 
of the present age in moral dignity and intellectual power to those 
which have preceded it. For if the fact were true that we had even 
(surpassed our ancestors in the best of what is good, the main part of the 
dangers and impediments which my correspondent has feelingly por- 
trayed could not cease to exist for minds like his, nor indeed would they 
be much diminished ; as they arise out of the constitution of things, 
from vl\e nature of youth, from the laws that govern the growth of the 
faculties, and from the necessary condition of the great body of mankind. 
Let us throw ourselves back to the age of Elizabeth, and call up to mind 
the heroes, the warriors, the statesmen, the poets, the divines, and the 
moral philosophers, with which the reign of the virgin queen was illus- 
trated. Or if we be more strongly attracted by the moral purity and 
greatness, and that sanctity of civil and religious duty with which the 
tyranny of Charles I. was struggled against, let us cast our eyes, in the 
hurry of admiration, round that circle of glorious patriots ; but do not 
let us be persuaded, that each of these, in his course of discipline, was 
uniformly helped forward by those with whom he associated, or by 
those whose care it was to direct him. Then, as now, existed objects to 
which the wisest attached undue importance ; then, as now, judgment 
was misled by factions and parties — time wasted in controversies fruitless, 
except as far as they quickened the faculties ; then, as now, minds were 
venerated or idolized, which owed their influence to the weakness of 
their contemporaries rather than to their own power. Then, though 
great actions were wrought, and great works in literature and science 
produced, yet the general taste was capricious, fantastical, or grovelling : 
and in this point, as in all others, was youth subject to delusion, frequent 
in proportion to the liveliness of the sensibiUty, and strong as the strength 
of the imagination. Every age hath abounded in instances of parents, 
kindred, and friends, who, by indirect influence of example, or by posi- 
tive mjunction and exhortation, have diverted or discouraged the youth 
who, in the simplicity and purity of nature, had determined to follow 
his intellectual genius through good and through evil, and had devoted 
himself to knowledge, to the practice of virtue and the preservation of 
integrity, in slight of temporal rewards. Above all, have not the com- 
mon duties and cares of common life at all times exposed men to injury, 
from causes whose action is the more fatal from being silent and unre- 
mitting, and which, wherever it was not jealously watched and steadily 
opposed, must have pressed upon and consumed the diviner spirit ? 

There are two errors into which we easily slip when thinking of past 
times. One lies in forgetting in the excellence of what remains, the 
large overbalance of worthlessness that has been swept away. Ranging 
over the wide tracts of antiquity the situation of the mind may b» 

260 Introdudinn. 

likened to that of a traveller* in some unpeopled part of America, who is 
(ittracted to the burial-place of one of the primitive inhabitants. It is 
conspicuous upon an eminence, " a mount upon a mount !" He digs 
into it, and finds that it contains the bones of a man of mighty stature ; 
and he is tempted to give way to a belief, that as there were giants in 
those days, so all men were giants. But a second and wiser thought 
may suggest to him, that this tomb would never have forced itself upon 
his notice if it had not contained a body that was distinguished from 
others, that of a man who had been selected as a chieftain or ruler for 
the very reason that he surpassed the rest of his tribe in stature, and 
who now lies thus conspicuously inhumed upon the mountain-top, 
while the bones of his followers are laid unobtrusively together in their 
burrows upon the plain below. The second habitual error is, that in 
this comparison of ages we divide time merely into past and present, 
and place these in the balance to be weighed against each other, not 
considering that the present is in our estimation not more than a 
period of thirty years, or half a century at most, and that the past is a 
mighty accumulation of many such periods, perhaps the whole of recorded 
time, or at least the whole of that portion of it in which our own coun- 
try has been distinguished. We may illustrate this by the familiar use 
of the words ancient and modern, when applied to poetry : what can be 
more inconsiderate or unjust than to compare a few existing writers with 
the whole succession of their progenitors ? The delusion, from the mo- 
ment that our thoughts are directed to it, seems too gross to deserve 
mention ; yet men will talk for hours upon poetry, balancing against 
each lother the words ancient and modern, and be unconscious that they 
have feUen into it. 

These observations are not made as implying a dissent from the belief 
of my correspondent, that the moral spirit and intellectual powers of this 
country are declining ; but to guard against unqualified admiration, even 
in cases where admiration has been rightly fixed, and to prevent that 
depression which must necessarily follow, where the notion of the pecu- 
liar unfiavouraibleness of the present times to dignity of mind has been 
carried too far. For in proportion as we imagine obstacles to exist out 
of ourselves to retard our progress, will, in fact, our progress be retarded. 
Deeming then, that in ill ages an ardent mind will be baffled and 
led astray in the manner under contemplation, though in various degrees, 
I shall at present content myself with a few practical and desultory com- 
ments upon some of those general causes, to which my correspondent 
justly attributes the errors m opinion, and the lowering or deadening of 
sentiment to which ingenuoms and aspiring youth is exposed. And first, 
for the heart-cheering belief in the perpetual progress of the species to- 
wards a point of unattainable perfection. If the present age do indeed 

* Vide Aslie'fi Travels Id AiD»i<a. 


Introduction, 261 

transcend the past in what is most beneficial and honourable, he that 
perceives this, being in no error, has no cs use for complaint ; but if it be 
not so, a youth of genius might, it should seem, be preserved from any 
wrong influence of this faith, by an insight into a simple truth, namely, 
tiiat it is not necessary, in order to satisfy the desires of our nature, or 
to reconcile us to the economy of Providence, that there should be at all 
times a continuous advance in what is of highest worth. In fact it is 
not, as a writer of the present day has admirably observed, in the 
power of fiction to portray in words, or of the imagination to con- 
ceive in spirit, actions or characters of more exalted virtue than those 
which thousands of years ago have existed upon earth, as we know 
from the records of authentic history. Such is the inherent dignity 
of human nature, that there belong to it sublimities of virtues which 
all men may attain, and which no man can transcend ; and though 
this be not true, in an equal degree, of intellectual power, yet in the 
persons of Plato, Demosthenes, and Homer, — and in those of Shakespeare, 
Milton, and Lord Bacon, — were enshrined as much of the divinity ol 
intellect as the inhabitants of this planet can hope will ever take up 
its abode among them. But the question is not of the power or worth 
of individual minds, but of the general moral or intellectual merits 
of an age, or a people, or of the human race. Be it so ; let us allow 
and believe that there is a progress in the species towards imattainable 
perfection, or whether this be so or not, that it is a necessity of a good 
and greatly-gifted nature to believe it ; surely it does not follow, that 
this progress should be constant in those virtues and intellectual quali- 
ties, and in those departments of knowledge, which in themselves abso- 
lutely considered are of most value — things independent and in their 
degree indispensable. The progress of the species neither is nor can be 
like that of a Eoman road in a right line. It may be more justly com- 
pared to that of a river, which, both in its smaller reaches and larger 
turnings, is frequently forced back towards its fountains by objects 
which cannot otherwise be eluded or overcome ; yet with an accom- 
panying impulse that will insure its advancement hereafter, it is either 
gaining strength every hour, or conquering in secret some difficulty, by 
a labour that contributes as effectually to further it in its course, as 
when it moves forward uninterrupted in a line, direct as that of the 
Eoman road with which we began the comparison. 

It suffices to content the mind, though there may be an apparent 
stagnation, or a retrograde movement in the species, that something is 
doing which is necessary to be done, and the effects of which will in due 
time appear ; that something is unremittingly gaining, either in secret 
preparation or in open and triumphant progress. But in fact here, as 
everywhere, we are deceived by creations which the mind is compelled 
to make for itself: we speak of the species not as an aggregate, but as 

262 Introduction. 

endued with the form and separate life of an individual. But human 
kind, what is it else than myriads of rational beings in various degrees 
obedient to their reason ; some torpid, some aspiring ; some in eager 
chase to the right hand, some to the left ; these wasting down their 
moral nature, and these feeding it for immortality ? A whole genera- 
tion may appear even to sleep, or may be exasperated with rage — they 
that compose it tearing each other to pieces with more than bruta' 
fuiy. It is enough for complacency and hope, that scattered and 
solitary minds are always labouring somewhere in the service of truth 
and virtue ; and that by the sleep of the multitude, the energy of the 
multitude may be prepared ; and that by the fury of the people, the 
chains of the people may be broken. Happy moment was it for 
England when her Chaucer, who has rightly been called the morning 
star of her literature, appeared above the horizon ; when her Wickliff, 
like the sun, " shot orient beams " through the night of Romish super- 
stition ! Yet may the darkness and the desolating hurricane which 
immediately followed in the wars of York and Lancaster, be deemed in 
their turn a blessing, with which the land has been visited. 

May I return to the thought of progress, of accumulation, of in- 
creasing light, or of any other image by which it may please us to 
represent the improvement of the species? The hundred years that 
followed the usurpation of Henry IV. were a hurling-back of the mind 
of the country, a dilapidation, an extinction ; yet institutions, laws, 
customs, and habits, were then broken down, which would not have 
been so readily, nor perhaps so thoroughly, destroyed by the gradual 
influence of increasing knowledge ; and under the oppression of which, 
if they had continued to exist, the virtue and intellectual prowess of the 
succeeding century could not have appeared at all, much less could they 
have displayed themselves with that eager haste, and with those bene- 
ficent triumphs, which will to the end of time be looked back upon with 
admiration and gratitude. 

If the foregoing obvious distinctions be once clearly perceived, and 
stea'W.j Kept in view, I do not see why a belief in the progress of 
human nature towards perfection should dispose a youthful mind, 
however enthusiastic, to an undue admiration of his own age, and thus 
tend to degrade that mind. 

But let me strike at once at the root of the evil complained of in my 
correspondent's letter. Protection from any fatal effect of seductions, 
and hindrances which opinion may throw in the way of pure and high- 
minded youth, can only be obtained with certainty at the same price by 
which everything great and good is obtained, namely, steady de- 
pendence upon voluntary and self- originating effort, and upon the 
practice of self-examination, sincerely aimed at and rigorously enforced. 
But how is this to be expected from youth ? Is it not to demand the 


Introduction. 2G3 

fruit when the blossom is barely put forth, and is hourly at the mercy 
of frosts and winds ? To expect from youth these virtues and habits, in 
that degree of excellence to which in mature years they may be carried, 
v.'ould indeed be preposterous. Yet has youth many helps and apti- 
tudes for the discharge of these difficult duties, which are withdrawn 
for the most part from the more advanced stages of life. For youth 
has its own wealth and independence; it is rich in health cf body and 
animal spirits, in its sensibility to the impressions of the natural 
universe, in the conscious growth of knowledge, in lively sympathy and 
familiar communion with the generous actions recorded in history, and 
with the high passions of poetry ; and, above all, youth is rich in the 
possession of time, and the accompanying consciousness of freedom and 
power. The young man feels that he stands at a distance from the 
season when his harvest is to be reaped, that he has leisure and may 
look around — may defer both the choice and the execution af his pur- 
poses. If he makes an attempt and shall fail, new hopes immediately 
rush in, and new promises. Hence, in the happy confidence of his 
feelings, and in the elasticity of his spirit, neither worldly ambition, 
nor the love of praise, nor dread of censure, nor the necessity of 
worldly maintenance, nor any of those causes which tempt or compel 
the mind habitually to look out of itself for support ; neither these, nor 
the passions of envy, fear, hatred, despondency, and the rankling of dis- 
appointed hopes (all which in after-life give birth to and regulate 
the efforts of men, and determine their opinions), have power to preside 
over the choice of the young, if the disposition be not naturally bad, or 
the circumstances have not been in an uncommon degree unfavourable. 
In contemplatioQ, then, of this disinterested and free condition of the 
youthful mind, I deem it in many points peculiarly capable of searching 
into itself, and of profiting by a few simple questions such as these 
that follow. Am I chiefly gratified by the exertion of my power from 
the pure pleasure of intellectual activity, and from the knowledge 
thereby acquired ? In other words, to what degree do I value my 
faculties and my attainments for their own sakes ? or are they chiefly 
prized by me on account of the distinction which they confer, or the 
superiority which they give me over others ? Am I aware that imme- 
diate influence and a general acknowledgment of merit are no necessary 
adjuncts of a successful adherence to study and meditation, in those 
departments of knowledge which are of most value to mankind ? that a 
recompence of honours and emoluments is far less to be expected ; in 
fact, that there is little natural connection between them ? Have I 
perceived this truth? and, perceiving it, does the countenance of 
philosophy continue to appear as bright and beautiful in my eyes? 
Has no haze bedimmed it ? Ha< no cloud passed over and hidden from 
iae that look which was before bo encouraging ? Knowing that it is my 

26 i^ Introduction. 

duty, and feeliLg that it is my inclination, to mingle as a social being" 
with my fellow men ; prepared also to submit cheerfully to the necessity 
that will probably exist of relinquishing, for the purpose of gaining a 
livelihood, the greatest portion of my time to employments where I 
shall have little or no choice how or when I am to act ; have I, at this 
moment, when I stand as it were upon the threshold of the busy world, 
a clear intuition of that pre-eminence in which virtue and truth (in- 
volving in this latter word the sanctities of religion) sit enthroned above 
all denominations and dignities which, in various degrees of exaltation, 
rule over the desires of men? Do I feel that, if their solemn mandates 
shall be forgotten, or disregarded, or denied the obedience due to them 
when opposed to others, I shall not only have lived for no good purpose, 
but that I shall have sacrificed my birthright as a rational being, and 
that every other acquisition will be a bane and a disgrace to me ? This 
is not spoken with reference to such sacrifices as present themselves to 
the youthful imagination in the shape of crimes, acts by which the 
conscience is violated ; such a thought, I know, would be recoiled from 
at once, not without indignation ; but I write in the spirit of the 
ancient fable of Prodicus, representing the choice of Hercules.^ — -Here is 
the World, a female figure approaching at the head of a train of willing 
or giddy followers ; her air and deportment are at once careless, remiss, 
self-satisfied, and haughty : and there is Intellectual Prowess, with a 
pale cheek and serene brow, leading in chains Truth, her beautiful and 
modest captive. The one makes her salutation with a discourse of ease, 
pleasure, freedom, and domestic tranquillity ; or, if she invite to labour, 
it is labour in the busy and beaten track, with assurance of the complacent 
regards of parents, friends, and of those with whom we associate. The 
promise also may be upon her lip of the huzzas of the multitude, of the 
smile of kings, and the munificent rewards of senates. The other does 
not venture to hold forth any of those allurements ; she does not conceal 
from him whom she addresses the impediments, the disappointments, 
the ignorance and prejudice which her follower will have to encounter, 
if devoted, when duty calls, to active life ; and if to contemplative, she 
lays nakedly before him, a scheme of solitary and unremitting labour, a 
life of entire neglect perhaps, or assuredly a life exposed to scorn, insult, 
persecution, and hatred ; but cheered by encouragement from a grateful 
few, by applauding conscience, and by a prophetic anticipation, perhaps, 
of fame — a late, though lasting consequence. Of these two, each in this 
manner soliciting you to become her adherent, you doubt not which to 
prefer : but oh ! the thought of moment is not preference, but the 
degree of preference ; the passionate and pure choice, the inward sense of 
absolute and unchangeable devotion, 

I spoke of a few simple questions : the question involved in this 
deliberation is simple, but at the same time it is high and awful ; and 


Introduction. 265 

I would gladly know whctlier an answer can be returned satisfactory to 
the mind. "We will for a moment suppose that it cannot ; that there is 
a startling and a hesitation. Are we then to despond ? to retire from all 
contest ? and to reconcile ourselves at once to cares without a generous 
hope, and to efforts in which there is no more moral life than that 
which is found in the business and labours of the unfavoured and un- 
aspiring many ? No ; but if the inquiry have net been on just grounds 
satisfactorily answered, we may refer confidently our youth to that 
nature of which he deems himself an enthusiastic follower, and one who 
wishes to continue no less faithful and enthusiastic. We would tell 
him that there are paths which he has not trodden, recesses which he 
has not penetrated ; that there is a beauty which he has not seen, a 
pathos which he has not felt, a sublimity to which he hath not been 
raised. If he have trembled because there has occasionally taken place 
in him a lapse of which he is conscious ; if he foresee open or secret 
attacks, which he has had intimations that he will neither be strong 
enough to resist nor watchful enough to elude, let him not hastily 
ascribe this weakness, this deficiency, and the painful apprehensions 
■accompanying them, in any degree to the virtues or noble qualities with 
which youth by nature is furnished ; but let him first be assured, 
before he looks about for the means of attaining the insight, the dis- 
criminating powers, and the confirmed wisdom of manhood, that his 
soul has more to demand of the appropriate excellences of youth than 
youth has yet supplied to it ; that the evil under which he labours is 
not a superabundance of the instincts and the animating spirit of that 
age, but a falling short, or a failure. But what can he gain from this 
admonition ? he cannot recall past time ; he cannot begin his journey 
afresh ; he cannot untwist the links by which, in no undelightful 
harmony, images and sentiments are wedded in his mind. Granted that 
the sacred light of childhood is and must be for him no more than a 
r^nembrance. He may, notwithstanding, be remanded to nature, and 
with trustworthy hopes, founded less upon his sentient than upon his 
intellectual being : to nature, as leading on insensibly to the society of 
reason ; but to reason and will, as leading back to the wisdom of nature. 
A reunion, in this order accomplished, will bring reformation and 
timely support; and the two powers of reason and nature, thus re- 
ciprocally teacher and taught, may advance together in a track to which 
there is no limit. 

We have been discoursing (by implication at least) of infancy, child- 
hood, boyhood, and youth, of pleasures lying upon the unfolding 
intellect plenteously as morning dewdrops, of knowledge inlialed 
insensibly like the fragrance, of dispositions stealing into the spirit like 
music from unknown quarters, of images uncalled-for and rising up 
like exhalation*' ot hop.;s plucked like beautiful wild flowers from tho 

266 Introduction. 

ruined tombs that border the highways of antiquity, to make a garland 
for a living forehead : in a word, we have been treating of nature as a 
teacher of truth through joy and through gladness, and as a creatress of 
the faculties by a process of smoothness and delight. We have made 
no mention of fear, shame, sorrow, nor of ungovernable and vexing 
thoughts ; because, although these have been and have done mighty ser- 
vice, they are overlooked in that stage of life when youth is passing into 
manhood — overlooked, or forgotten. We now apply for the succour 
which we need, to a faculty that works after a different course ; that 
faculty is reason ; she gives more spontaneously, but she seeks for more ; 
she works by thought, through feeling ; yet in thoughts she begins and 

A familiar incident may elucidate this contrast in the operations of 
nature, may render plain the manner in which a process of intellectual 
improvements, the reverse of that which nature pursues is by reason 
introduced. There never perhaps existed a school -boy who, having when 
he retired to rest, carelessly blown out his candle, and having chanced to 
notice, as he lay upon his bed in the ensuing darkness, the sullen light 
which had survived the extinguished flame, did not, at some time or 
other, watch that light as if his mind were bound to it by a spell. It 
fades and revives — gathers to a point — seems as if it would go out in a 
moment — again recovers its strength, nay becomes brighter than before : 
it continues to shine with an endurance which, in its apparent weakness, 
is a mystery ; it protracts its existence so long, clinging to the power 
which supports it, that the observer, who had lain down in his bed so 
easy-minded, becomes sad and melancholy ; his sympathies are touched : 
it is to him an intimation and an image of departing human life ; the 
thought comes nearer to him — it is the life of a venerated parent, of a 
beloved brother or sister, or of an aged domestic, who are gone to the 
grave, or whose destiny it soon may be thus to linger, thus to hang upon 
the last point of mortal existence, thus finally to depart and be seen no 
more. This is nature teaching seriously an 1 sweetly through the affec- 
tions — melting the heart, and, through that instinct of tenderness, 
.ieveloping the understanding. In this instance the object of solicitude 
is the bodily life of another. Let us accompany this same boy to that 
period between youth and manhood when a solicitude may be awakened 
for the moral life of himself. Are there any powers by which, beginning 
with a sense of inward decay that affects not however the natural life, he 
could call to mind the same image and hang over it with an equal interest 
as a visible type of his own perishing spirit ? Oh ! surely, if the being 
of the individual be under his own care ; if it be his first care — if duty 
begin from the point of accountableness to our conscience, and, through 
that, to God and human nature ; if without such primary sense of duty, 
all secondary care of teacher, of friend, or parent, must be baseless and 

Introduction. 2G7 

fruitless ; f, lastly, the motions of the soul transcend in worth those of 
the animal functions, nay give to them their sole value ; then truly are 
there such powers ; and the image of the dying taper may be recalled 
and contemplated, though with no sadness in the nerves, no disposition 
to tears,^ no unconquerable sighs, yet with a melancholy in the soul, a 
sinking inward into ourselves from thought to thought, a steady remon- 
strance, and a high resolve. — Let then the youth go back, as occasion 
will permit, to nature and to solitude, thus admonished by reason, and 
relying upon this newly acquired support. A world of fresh sensations 
will gradually open upon him as his mind puts off its infirmities, and as 
instead of being propelled restlessly towards others in admiration, or too 
hasty love, he makes it his prime business to understand himself. New 
sensations, I affirm, will be opened out — pure, and sanctioned by that 
reason which is their original author ; and precious feelings of disinte- 
rested, that is self-disregarding, joy and love may be regenerated and 
restored : and, in this sense, he may be said to measure back the track 
of life he has trod. 

In such disposition of mind let the youth return to the visible 
universe, and to conversation with ancient books ; and to those, if such 
there be, which in the present day breathe the ancient spirit ; and let 
him feed upon that beauty which unfolds itself, not to his eye as it sees 
carelessly the things which cannot possibly go unseen, and are remem- 
bered or not as accident shall decide, but to the thinking mind ; which 
searches, discovers, and treasures up, infusing by meditation into the 
objects with which it converses an intellectual life, whereby they remain 
planted in the memory, now and for ever. Hitherto the youth, I 
suppose, has been content for the most part to look at his own mind 
after the manner in which he ranges along the stars in the firmament, 
with naked unaided sight : let him now apply the telescope of art — to 
call the invisible stars out of their hiding-places, and let him endeavour 
to look through the system of his being, with the organ of reason; sum- 
moned to penetrate, as far as it has power, in discovery of the impelling 
forces and the governing laws. 

These expectations are not immoderate ; they demand nothing more 
than the perception of a few plain truths ; namely, that knowledge effi- 
cacious for the production of virtue is the ultimate end of all effort, the 
sole dispenser of complacency and repose. A perception also is implied 
of the inherent superiority of contemplation to action. The Friend does 
not in this contradict his own words, where he has said heretofore, that 
" doubtless to act is nobler than to think." In those words, it was his 
purpose to censure that barren contemplation which rests satisfied with 
itself in cases where the thoughts are of such quality that they may be, 
and ought to be embodied in action. But he speaks now of the general 
superiority of thought to action, as preceding and governing all action. 

268 Tntrodtiction. 

that moves to sanitary purposes ; and, secondly, as leading to elevation, 
the absolute possession of the individual mind, and to a consistency or 
harmony of the feeing within itself, which no outward agency can reach 
to disturb or to impair ; and lastly, as producing works of pure science ; 
or of the combined faculties of imagination, feeling, and reason — works 
which, both from their independence in their origin upon accident, their 
nature, their duration, and the wide spread of their influence, are entitled 
rightly to take place of the noblest and most beneficent deeds of heroes, 
statesmen, legislators, or warriors. 

Yet, beginning from the perception of this established superiority, we 
do not suppose that the youth, whom we wish to guide and encourage, 
is to be insensible to those influences of wealth, or rank, or station, by 
which the bulk of mankind are swayed. Our eyes have not been fixed 
upon virtue which lies apart from human nature, or transcends it. In 
fact there is no such virtue. We neither suppose nor wish him to 
undervalue or slight these distinctions as modes of power, things that 
may enable him to be more useful to his contemporaries ; nor as gratifi- 
cations that may confer dignity upon his living person, and, through 
him, upon those who love him ; nor as they may connect his name, 
through a family to be founded by his success, in a closer chain of grati- 
tude with some portion of posterity, who shall speak of him, as among 
their ancestry, with a more tender interest than the mere general bond 
of patriotism or humanity would supply. We suppose no indifference 
to, much less a contempt of, these rewards ; but let them have their due 
place : let it be ascertained, when the soul is searched into, that they are 
only an auxiliary motive to exertion, never the principal or originating 
force. If this be too much to expect from a youth who, I take for granted, 
possesses no ordinary endowments, and whom circumstances with respect 
to the more dangerous passions have favoured, then, indeed, must the 
noble spirit of the country be wasted away ; then would our institutions 
be deplorable ; and the education prevalent among us utterly vile and 

But my correspondent, who drew forth these thoughts, has said 
rightly, that the character of the age may not without injustice be thus 
branded : he will not deny that, without speaking of other countries, 
there is in these islands, in the departments of natural philosophy, of 
mechmic ingenuity, in the general activities of the country, and in the 
particular excellence of individual minds, in high stations civil or mili- 
tary, enough to excite admiration and love in the sober-minded, and more 
than enough to intoxicate the youthful and inexperienced. I will com- 
pare, then, an aspiring youth, leaving the schools in which he has been 
disciplined, and preparing to bear a part in the concerns of the world, — I 
will compare him, in this season of eager admiration, to a newly-invested 
knight appearing, with his blank unsignalized shield, upon some day of 


Introduction. 269 

solemn tournament, at the court of the Faery Queen, as that sovereignty 
was conceived to exist by the moral and imaginative genius of our divine 
Spenser. He does not himself immediately enter the lists as a combatant, 
but he looks round him with a beating heart : dazzled by the gorgeous 
pageantry, the banners, the impresses, the ladies of overcoming beauty, the 
persons of the knights — now first seen by him, the fame of whose actions 
1.8 carried by the traveller, like merchandize, through the world, and re- 
sounded upon the harp of the minstrel. But I am not at liberty to make 
this comparison. If a youth were to begin his career in such au assem- 
blage, with such examples to guide and to animate, it will be pleaded there 
would be no cause for apprehension ; he could not falter, he could not be 
misled. But ours is, notwithstanding its manifold excellences, a de- 
generate age, and recreant knights are among us far out-numbering the 
true. A false Gloriana in these days imposes worthless services, which 
they who perform them, in their blindness, know not to be such ; and 
which are recompensed by rewards as worthless, yet eagerly grasped at, 
as if they were the immortal guerdon of virtue. 

I have in this declaration insensibly overstepped the limits which 1 
had determined not to pass ; let me be forgiven ; for it is hope which 
hath carried me forward. In such a mixed assemblage as our age pre- 
sents, with its genuine merit and its large overbalance of alloy, I may 
boldly ask into what errors, either with respect to person or thing, 
could a young man fall, who had sincerely entered upon the course of 
moral discipline which has been recommended, and to which the condi- 
tion of youth, it has been proved, is favourable ? His opinions could no- 
where deceive him beyond the point up to which, after a season, he would 
find that it was salutary for him to have been deceived. Tor, as that 
man cannot set a right value upon health who has never known sickness, 
nor feel the blessing of ease who has been through his life a stranger to 
pain, so can there be no confirmed and passionate love of truth for him 
who has not experienced the hoUowness of error. Eange against each 
other as advocates, oppose as combatants, two several intellects, each 
strenuously asserting doctrines which he sincerely believes ; but the one 
contending for the worth and beauty of that garment which the other 
has outgrown and cast away. Mark the superiority, the ease, the dig- 
nity, on the side of the more advanced mind, how he overlooks his 
siibject, commands it from centre to circumference, and hath the same 
thorough knowledge of the tenets which his adversary, with impetuous 
leal, but in confusion also, and thrown off his guard at every turn of 
the argument, is labouring to maintain ! If it be a question of the fine 
arts (poetry for instance), the riper mind not only sees that his opponent 
is deceived but, what is of far more importance, sees how he is 
deceived. The imagination stands before him with all its imperfections 
laid open ; as duped by shows enslaved by words, corrupted by mie- 

270 Introduction, 


taken delicacy and false refinement ; as not having even attended with 
care to the reports of the senses, and therefore deficient grossly ia the 
rudiments of its own power. He has noted how, as a supposed neces- 
sary condition, the understanding sleeps in order that the fancy may 
dream. Studied in the history of society, and versed in the secret laws 
of thought, he can pass regularly through all the gradations, can pierce 
infallibly all the windings -which false tasta through ages has pursued — 
from the very time when first, through inexperience, heedlessness, or 
affectation, it took its departure from the side of Truth, its original 
parent. Can a disputant thus accoutred be withstood? to whom, 
further, every movement in the thoughts of his antagonist is revealed by 
the light of his own experience ; who, therefore, sympathizes with 
weakness gently, and wins his way by forbearance ; and hath, when 
needful, an irresistible power of onset, arising from gratitude to the 
truth which he vindicates, not merely as a positive good for mankind, 
but as his own especial rescue and redemption ? 

I might here conclude ; but my correspondent, towards the close of 
his letter, has written so feelingly upon the advantages to be derived, in 
his estimation, from a living instructor, that I must not leave this 
part of the subject without a word of direct notice. The Friend cited, 
some time ago, a passage from the prose works of Milton, eloquently 
describing the manner in which good and evil grow up together in the 
field of the world almost inseparably ; and insisting, consequently, upon 
the knowledge and survey of vice, as necessary to the constituting of 
human virtue, and the scanning of error to the confirmation of truth. 

If this be so, — and I have been reasoning to the same effect in the pre- 
ceding paragraph, — the fact, and the thoughts which it may suggest, 
will, if rightly applied, tend to moderate an anxiety for the guidance of a 
more experienced or superior mind. The advantage, where it is pos- 
sessed, is far from being an absolute good ; nay, such a preceptor, ever 
at hand, might prove an oppression not to be thrown off, and a fatal 
hindrance. Grant that in the general tenor of his intercourse with 
his pupil he is forbearing and circumspect, inasmuch as he is rich in 
that knowledge (above all other necessary for a teacher) which cannot 
exist without a liveliness of memory, preserving for him an unbroken 
image of the winding, excursive, and often retrograde course along 
which his own intellect has passed. Grant that, furnished with these 
distinct remembrances, he wishes that the mind of his pupil should be 
free to luxuriate in the enjoyments, loves, and admirations appropriated 
to its age ; that he is not in haste to kill what he knows will in due 
time die of itself ; or be transmuted, and put on a nobler form and 
higher faculties otherwise unattainable. In a word, that the teacher is 
governed habitually by the wisdom of patience waiting with pleasure. 
Yet perceiving how much the outward help of art can facilitate the pro* 

Introduction. 271 

gress of nature he may be betrayed into many unnecessary or pernicious 
niistakes where he deems his interference warranted by substantial 
experience. And in spite of all his caution, remarks may drop insensi- 
bly from him which shall wither in the mind of his pupil a generous 
sympathy, destroy a sentiment of approbation or dislike, not merely 
innocent but salutary; and for the inexperienced disciple how many 
pleasures may be thus cut off, what joy, what admiration, and what 
love ! while in their stead are introduced into the ingenuous mind mis- 
givings, a mistrust of its own evidence, dispositions to affect to feel where 
there can be no real feeling, indecisive judgments, a superstructure of 
opinions that has no base to support it, and words uttered by rote with 
the impertinence of a parrot or a mocking-bird, yet which may not be 
listened to with the same indifference, as they cannot be heard without 
some feeling of moral disapprobation. 

These results, I contend, whatever may be the benefit to be derived 
from such an enlightened teacher, are in their degree inevitable. And 
by this process humility and docile dispositions may exist towards 
the master, endued as he is with the power which personal presence 
confers ; but at the same time they will be liable to overstep their 
due bounds, and to degenerate into passiveness and prostra.tion of mind. 
This towards him ! while, with respect to other living men, nay even 
to the mighty spirits of past times, there may be associated with such 
weakness a want of modesty and humility. Insensibly may steal in 
presumption and a habit of sitting in judgment in cases where no sen- 
timent ought to have existed but diffidence or veneration. Such 
virtues are the sacred attributes of youth ; its appropriate calling is not 
to distinguish in the fear of being deceived or degraded, not to analyze 
with scrupulous minuteness, but to accumulate in genial confidence ; 
its instinct, its safety, its benefit, its glory, is to love, to admire, to feel, 
and to labour. Nature has irrevocably decreed that our prime de- 
pendence, in all stages of hfe after infancy and childhood have been 
passed through (nor do I know that this latter ought to be excepted), 
must be upon our own minds ; and that the way to knowledge shall be 
long, difficult, winding, and oftentimes returning upon itself. 

What has laeen said is a mere sketch, and that only of a part of the 
interesting country into which we have been led ; but my correspondent 
will be able to enter the paths that have been pointed out. Should he 
do this and advance steadily for a while, he need not fear any devia- 
tions from the truth which will be finally injurious to him. He will 
not long have his admiration fixed upon unworthy objects ; he will 
neither be clogged nor drawn aside by the love of friends or kindred, 
betraying his understanding through his affections ; he will neither be 
bowed down by conventional arrangements of manners, producing too 
oft,3n a lifeless decency, nor will the rock of his spirit wear away in the 

272 Introduction. 

endless beating of the waves of the world ; neither mil that portion of 
his own time, which he must surrender to labours by which his liveli- 
hood is to be earned or his social duties performed, be unprofitable to 
himself indirectly, while it is directly useful to others ; for that time has 
been primarily surrendered through an act of obedience to a moral law 
established by himself, and therefore he moves then also along the orbit 
of perfect liberty. 

Let it be remembered, that the advice requested does not relate to the 
government of the more dangerous passions, or to the fundamental 
principles of -right and wrong as acknowledged by the universal con- 
science of mankind. I may therefore assure my youthful correspondent, 
if he will endeavour to look into himself in the manner which I have 
exhorted him to do, that in him the wish will be realized, to him in 
due time the prayer granted, which was uttered by that living teacher 
of whom he speaks with gratitude as of a benefactor, when, in hig 
character of philosophical poet, having thought of morality as implying 
in its essence voluntary obedience, and producing the effect of order, he 
transfers, in the transport of imagiDation, the law of moral to physical 
natures, and having contemplated, through the medium of that order, 
all modes of existence as subservient to one spirit, concludes his address 
to the power of duty in the following words : — 

To humbler functions, awful power ! 

I call thee : I myself commend 

Unto thy guidance from this hour ; 

Oh, let my weakness have an end ! 

Give unto me, made lowly wise. 

The spirit of self-sflcrifice ; 

Hu cmtfidtnce of reason give ! 

And in the light of truth thy Bondman let me live. 




^tttian t^e ^etanis. 



I know, the seeming and self-pleasing wisdom of our times consists much in cavilling and 
unjustly carping at all things that see light, and that there are many who earnestly hunt 
after the public fame of learning and Judgment by this easily-trod and despicable path, which, 
notwithstanding, they tread with as much confidence as folly ; for that, ofttimes, which they 
vainly and unjustly brand with opprobrie, outlives their fate, and flourisheth when it is forgot 
that ever any such as they had being. — Dedication to Lord Herbert <Sf Ambrose Parey't 
Works, by Thomas Johnson, the Translator, 1634. 

274 The Friend. 


We cannol but look up with reverence to the advanced natures of the naturalists and 
moralists in highest repute amongst us, and vs^ish they had been heightened by a more 
noble principle, which had crowned all their various sciences with the principal science, and 
in their brave strayings after truth helped them to better fortune than only to meet with 
her handmaids, and kept them from the fate of Ulysses, who wandering through the shades 
met ill the ghosts, yet could not see the queen. 

J. H. (John Hall?) his Motum to ttie Parliament of England 
concerning the Adoancement of Learning. 

THE preceding section had for its express object the principles of our 
duty as citizens, or morality as applied to politics. According to his 
scheme there remained for The Friend first, to treat of the principles of 
morality generally, and then of those of religion. But since the com- 
mencement of this [second] edition, the question has repeatedly arisen in 
my mind, whether morality can be said to have any principle distinguish- 
able from religion, or religion any substance divisible from morality ? 
Or should I attempt to distinguish them by their objects, so that morality 
were the religion which we owe to things and persons of this life, and re- 
ligion our morality toward God and the permanent concerns of our own 
souls, and those of our brethren ; yet it would be evident, that the latter 
must involve the former, while any pretence to the former witiiout the 
latter would be as bold a mockery as if, having withheld an estate from 
the rightful owner, we should seek to appease our conscience by the piea, 
that we had not failed to bestow alms on him in his beggary. It was 
never my purpose, and it does not appear to be the want of the age, to 
bring together the rules and inducements of worldly prudeiicfe. But to 
substitute these for the laws of reason and conscience, or even to confound 
them under one name, is a prejudice, say rather a profanation, which I 
became more and more reluctant to flatter by even an appearance of 
assent, though it were only in a point of form and technical arrange- 

At a time when my thoughts were thus employed, I met with a 
volume of old tracts, published during the interval from the captivity of 
Charles I. to the restoration of his son. Since my earliest manhood it 
had been among my fondest regrets, that a more direct and frequent 
reference had not been made by our historians to the books, pamphlets, 
and flying sheets of that momentous period, during which all the possible 
forms of truth and error (the latter being themselves for the greater part 
caricatures of truth) bubbled up on the surface of the public mind as in 
the ferment of a chaos. It would be diificult to conceive a notion or a 
fancy, in politics, ethics, theology, or even in physics or physiology, 
which had not been anticipated by the men of that age ; in this as in 
most other respects sharply contrasted with the products of the French 
Eevolution, which was scarcely more chavacterizcd by ita sanguinary aud 

Section 2. — Essay 1. 275 

aenawal abuminatious than (to borrow the words of an eminent living 
Ijoet) by 

A dreary want at once of books and men. 

The parUaraenfc's array was not wholly composed of mere fanatics. Tliere 
was no mean proportion of enthusiasts ; and that enthusiasm must liave 
been of no ordinary grandeur which could draw ironi a common soMicr, 
in an address to his comrades, such a dissuasive from acting in " the cruel 
spirit of fear!" and such sentiments as are contained in the foUowinf^ 
extract, which I would fain rescue from oblivion,* both for the honour 
of our forefathers, and in proof of the intense difference between the re- 
publicans of that period, and the democrats, or rather demagogues, of the 
present. " I judge it ten times more honourable for a single person 
in witnessing a truth to opjwse the world in its power, wisdom and 
authority, this standing in its full strength, and he singly and nakedly 
than fighting mauy battles by force of arms, and gaining them all. 
1 have no life but truth ; and if truth be advanced by my suffering, 
then my life also. If truth live, I live; if justice live, I Hve ; and 
these cannot die, but by any man's suffering for them are enlarged, 
enthroned. Death cannot hurt me. I sport with him, am above his 
reach. I live an immortal life. What we have within, tl)at only can 
we see without. I cannot see death ; and he that hath not this freedom 
is a slave. He is in the arms of that, the phantom of which he behoideth 
and seemeth to himself to fiee from. Thus, you see that the king hath 
a will to redeem his present loss. You see it by means of the lust alter 
power in your own hearts. For my part I condemn his unlawful seek- 
ing after it. I condemn his falsehood and indirectness therein. But if 
he should not endeavour the restoring of the kingliness to the realm, and 
the dignity of its kings, he were false to his trust, false to the majesty of 
God that he is intrusted with. The desire of recovering his loss is justi- 
fiable. Yea, I should condemn him as unbelieving and pusillanimous, if 
he should not hope for it. But here is his misery and yours too at pre- 
sent, that ye are unbelieving and pusillanimous, and are, both alike, 
pursuing things of hope in the spirit of fear. Thus you condemn the 
parliament for acknowledging the king's power so far as to seek to him 
by a treaty ; while by taking such pains against him you manifest your 
own belief that he hath a great power — which is a wonder, that a prince 
despoiled of all his authority, naked, a prisoner, destitute of all friends 
and helps, wholly at the disposal of others, tied and bound too with all 
obligations that a parliament can imagine to hold him, should yet be such 
a terror to yuu, and fright you into such a large remonstrance, and such 

• The more so because every year con- of the Parliament war to the restoration, to 

BunieH its quota. 'I'he late Sir Wilfred Law- bis butler, and it supplied the chandlers' and 

gun's predecessor, fruni some pique or otlier, druggists' shops of Penrith and Kendal fol 

left a large and unique collection, of the many years. 
pajnpUets published from the commencement 

S76 TJie Friend. 

perilous proceedings to save yourselves from him. Either there is some 
strauge power in him, or you are full of fear that are so affected with a 

"But as you give testimony to his power, so yon take a course to 
advanc3 it ; for there is nothing that hath any spark of God in it, but the 
more it is suppressed the more it rises. If you did indeed telieve that 
the original of power were in the people, you would believe likewise that 
the concessions extorted from the king would rest with you, as, doubt- 
less, such of them as in righteousness ought to have been given, would 
do ; but that your violent courses distiirb the natural order of things, on 
which they still tend to their centre : and so far from being the way to 
secure what we have got, they are the way to lose them, and (for a time 
at least) to set up princes in a higher form than ever. For all things by 
force compelled from their nature will fly back with the greater earnest- 
ness on the removal of that force ; and this, in the present case, must 
soon weary itself out, and hath no less an enemy in its own satiety than 
in the disappointment of the people. 

" Again : you speak of the king's reputation, and do not consider that 
the more you crush him, the sweeter the fragrance that comes from him. 
While he suffers, the spirit of God and glory rests upon him. There is a 
glory and a freshness sparkling in him by suffering, an excellency that 
was hidden, and which you have drawn out. And naturally men are 
ready to pity sufferers. When nothing will gain me, affliction will. I 
confess his suflerings make me a royalist, who never cared for him. 
He tbat doth and can suffer shall have my heart ; you had it while yon 
suffered. But now your sevei'e punishment of him for his abuses in 
government, and your own usuipations, will nut only win the hearts of 
the people to the oppressed suffering king, but provoke them to rage 
against you, as having robbed them of the interest which they had in his 
royalty. For the king is in the people, and the people in the king. The 
king's being is not solitary, but as he is in union with his people, who are 
his strength in which he lives ; and the people's being is not naked, but 
an interest in the greatness and wisdom of the king who is their honour 
which lives in them. And though you will disjoin yourselves fiom 
kings, God will not, neither will I. God is King of kings, kings' and 
princes' God, as well as people's, theirs as well as ours, and theirs emi- 
nently (as the speech enforces, God of Israel, that is, Israel's God above 
all other nations ; and so King of kings) by a near and especial kindred and 
communion. Kingliness agrees with all Christians, w lio are indeed Chris- 
tiaas. For they are themselves of a royal nature, made kings with Christ, 
and cannot but be friends to it, being of kin to it : and if there were not 
kings to honour, they would want one of the appointed objects upon which 
to bestow that fulness of honour which is in their breasts, A virtue would 
lie unemplo-o-'>'l within them, and in prison, pining and restless from thf 

Section 2.-— Essay 1. 277 

want of its outward correlative. It is a bastard religion, tliat is incon- 
sistent with the majesty and the greatness of the most splendid monarch. 
Such spirits are strangers from the kingdom of heaven. Either they 
know not the glory in which God lives, or they are of narrow minds 
that arc corrupt themselves, and not able to bear greatness, and so think 
that God will not, or cannot, qualify men for such high places with cor- 
respondent and proportionable power and goodness. Is it not enough to 
have removed the malignant bodies which eclipsed the royal sun, and 
mixed their bad influences with his ? And would jow extinguish the 
sun itself to secure yourselves ? Oh ! this is the spirit of bondage to fear, 
and not of love and a sound mind. To assume the office and the name 
of champions for the common interest, and of Christ's soldiers, and yet to 
act for self-safety is so poor and mean a thing that it must needs produce 
most vile and absurd actions, the scorn of the old pagans, but for Chris- 
tians, who in all things are to love their neighbour as themselves, and 
God above both, it is of all affections the unworthiest. Let me be a fool 
and boast, if so I may show you, while it is yet time, a little of that 
rest and security which I and those of the same spirit enjoy, and which 
you have turned your backs upon ; self, like a banished thing, wandering 
in strange ways. First, then, I fear no party, or interest, for I love all, 
I am reconciled to all, and therein I find all reconciled to me. I have 
enmity to none but the son of perdition. It is enmity begets insecurity ; 
and while men live in the flesh, and in enmity to any party, or interest, 
in a private, divided, and self good, there will be, there cannot but be, 
perpetual wars; except that one particular should quite ruin all other 
parts and live aloue, which the universal must not, will not, suffer. For 
to admit a part to devour and absorb the others were to destroy the 
whole, which is God's presence therein ; and such a mind in any part 
doth not only fight with another part, but against the whole. Every 
faction of men, therefore, striving to make themselves absolute, and to 
owe their safety to their strength, and not to their sympath}-, do directly 
war against God who is love, peace, and a general good, gives being to all 
and cherishes all, and therefore can have neither peace nor security. But 
^ve being enlarged into the largeness of God, and comprehending all things 
in our bosoms by the Divine Spirit, are at rest with all, and delight io 
all : for we know nothing but what is, in its essence, in our own hearts 
Kings, nobles, are much beloved of us, because they aie in us, of us, one 
with us, we as Christians being kings and lords by the anointing of 

But such sentiments, it will be said, are the flights of speculative 
minds. Be it so ! yet to soar i-s nobler than to creep. We attach, like- 
wise, some value to a thing on the mere score of its rarity ; and specula- 
tive minds, alas ! have been rare, inough not equally rare, in all ages and 
countries of civilized man. With us t':e very word seems lo ha-^'e 

278 The Friend. 

abdicated its legitimate sense. Instead of designating a mind so con." 
stituted and disci i ilined as to find in its own wants and instincts an interest 
in trutlis for their truth's sake, it is now used to signify a iiractical 
schemer, one who ventures beyond the bounds of experience in the forma- 
tion and adoption of new ways and means for the attainment of wealth or 
I>Ower. To possess the end in the means, as it is essential to morality in 
the moral world, and the contra-distinction of goodness from mere pru- 
dence, so is it, in the intellectual world, the moral cunstitnent of genius, 
and that by which true genius is contra-distinguished from more talent. 
(*S'ee the postscrijA at the end of this essay.) 

The man of talent, who is, if not exclusively, yet chiefly and chaiac- 
teristically a man of talent, seeks and values the means wholly in 
relation to some object not therein contained. His means may be 
peculiar ; but his ends are conventional, and common to the mass of 
mankind. Alas ! in both cases alike, in that of genius, as well as in that 
of talent, it too often happens, that this diversity in the "morale" of 
their several intellects, extends to the feelings and imimlses properly and 
directly moral, to their dispositions, habits, and maxims of conduct. It 
characterizes not the intellect alone, but the whole man. The one sub- 
stitutes prudence for virtiie, legality in act and demeanour for warmth 
and purity of heart ; and too frequently becomes jealous, envious a 
coveter of other men's good gifts, and a detractor from their merits, 
openly or secretly, as his fears or his passions chance to preponderate.* 
The other, on the contrary, might remind us of the zealots for legiti- 
mate succession after the decease of our sixth Edward, who not content 
with having placed the rightful sovereign on the throne, would wreak 
their vengeance on " the meek usurper," who had been seated on it by 
a will against which she had herself been the first to remonstrate. For 
with that unhealthful preponderance of impulse over motive, which, 
though no part of genius, is too often its accompaniment, he lives in con- 
tinued hostility to prudence, or banishes it altogether ; and thus de- 
prives virtue of her guide and guardian, her prime functionary, yea, the 
very organ of her outward life. Hence a benevolence that squanders its 
shafts and still misses its aim, or like the charmed bullet that, levelled 
at the wolf, brings down the shepherd! Hence the desultoriuess, ex- 
tremes, exhaustion — 

Aai thereof cometli in the end despondency and madness !-"Wordswobth. 


* According to the principles of Spurz- rectly) the part of the skull asserted to be 

beim's Cranioscopy ( a scheme, tbe indicative significant of that tendency and correspon- 

or gnomonic parts of which have a stronger dent to ihe organ, is strikingly large in a cast 

support in facts than the theory in reason or ol tbe bend of tlie famous Dr. Dodd; and it 

fimnion sense), we sho'ild find in the skull of was found of equal dimension in a literary 

Bucb an individual the organs of circum- man, whose skull puzzled the cranioscopist 

gpection and apprcjpriation disproportiunately more tban it did me. Nature, it should see)n, 

large and prominent compared with those of makes no distinction between manuscnptswMl 

ideality and benevolence, it is certain that money-drafts, though the law does. 
the organ of upprupriatlon, or (more cor- 

Section 2.— Essay 1. 279 

Let it not be forgotten, however, that these evils are the disease of th« 
man, while the records of biography furnish ample proof that genius, in 
the higher degree, acts as a preservative against them : more remarkably, 
aiid in more frequent instances, when the imagination and precon- 
structive power have taken a scientific or philosophic direction ; as in 
Plato, indeed in almost all the first-rate philosophers — in Kepler, Milton, 
Boyle, Newton, Leibnitz, and Berkeley. At all events, a certain number 
of speculative minds is necessary to a cultivated state of society, as a 
condition of its progressiveness ; and nature herself has provided against 
any too great increase in this class of her productions. As the gifted 
masters of the divining-rod to the ordinary miners, and as the miners of 
a country to tlie husbandmen, mechanics, and artisans, such is the pro- 
portion of the Trismegisti to the sum total of speculative minds, even of 
those, I mean, that are truly such ; and of these again, to the remaining 
mass of useful labourers and " operatives " in science, literature, and 
the learned professions. 

This train of thought brings to my recollection a conversation with a 
friend of my youth, an old man of humble estate, but in whose society 
I had great pleasure. The reader will, I hope, pardon me if I embrace 
the opportunity of recalling old affections, afforded me by its fitness to . 
iimstrate the present subject. A sedate man he was, and had been a 
miner from his boyhood. Well did he represent the old " lang syne," 
when every trade was a mystery and had its own guardian saint ; when 
the sense of self-importance was gratified at home, and ambition had a 
hundred several lotteries, in one or other of which every freeman had a 
ticket, and the only blanks were drawn by sloth, intemperance, or in- 
evitable calamity ; when the detail of each art and trade (like the oracles 
of the prophets, interpretable in a double sense) was ennobled in the eyes 
of its professors by being spiritually improved into symbols and me- 
mentoes of all doctrines and all duties, and every craftsman had, as it 
were, two versions of his Bible, one in the common language of the 
country, another in the acts, objects, and products of his own particular 
craft. There are not many things in our older popular literature more 
interesting to me than those contests, or Amoibean eclogues, between 
workmen for the superior worth and dignity of their several callings, 
which used to be sold at our village fairs, in stitched sheets, neither un- 
titled nor undecorated, though without the superfluous cost of a separate 

With this good old miner I was once walking through a cornfield at 
harvest time, when that part of the conversation to which I have 
alluded took place. " At times," said I, " when you were delving in the 
bowels of the arid mountain or foodless rock, it must have occurred to 
your mind as a pleasant thought, that in providing the scythe and tho 
sword you were virtually reaping the harvest and protecting the harvest- 

280 The Friend. 

man." "Ah !" he replied with a sigh, that gave a fuller meaning to his 
smile, " out of all earthly things there come both good and evil ; the good 
through God, and the evil from the evil heart. From the look and 
weight of the ore I learnt to make a near guess, how much iron it would 
yield ; but neither its heft, nor its hues, nor its breakage would pro- 
phesy to me, whether it was to become a thievish picklock, a murderer's 
dirk, a slave's collar, or the woodman's axe, the feeding ploughshare, the 
defender's sword, or the mechanic's tool. So, perhaps, my young friend ! 
I have cause to be thankful, that the opening upon a fresh vein gives 
me a delight so full as to allow no room for other fancies, and leaves 
behind it a hope and a love that support me in my labour, even for the 
labour's sake." 

As, according to the oldest philosophy, life, being in its own nature 
aeriform, is under the necessity of renewing itself by inspiring the con- 
natural, and therefore assimilable air, so is it with the intelligential soul 
with respect to truth ; for it is itself of the nature of truth. Tevofifvt] 
CK Geiapias, /cat diofia Belov, (pvcriu f'xeiv (piXodfdfiova VTrdpxei. Plotinus. 
But the occasion and brief history of the decline of true speculative 
philosophy, with the origin of the separation of ethics from religion, I 
must defer to the following number. 


As I see many good and can anticipate no ill consequences, in the 
attempt to give distinct and appropriate meanings to words hitherto 
synonymous, or at least of indefinite and fluctuating application, if only 
the proposed sense be not passed upon the reader as the existing and 
authorized one, I shall make no other apology for the use of the word, 
talent, in this preceding essay and elsewhere in my woiks, than by an- 
nexing the following explanation. I have been in the habit of consider- 
ing the qualities of intellect, the comparative eminence in which charac- 
terizes individuals and even countries, under four kinds — genius, talent, 
sense, and cleverness. The first I use in the sense of most general 
acceptance, as the faculty which adds to the existing stock of power and 
knowledge by new views, new combinations, &c. In short, I define 
genius as originality in intellectual construction ; the moral accompani- 
ment and actuating principle of which consists, perhaps, in the carrying 
on of the freshness and feelings of childhood into the powers of Taa,n- 

By talent, on the other hand, I mean the comparative facility of ac- 
quiring, arranging, and applying the stock furnished by others and 
already existing in books or other conservatories of intellect. 

By sense I understand that just balance of the faculties which is tc 
the judgment what health is to the body. The mind seems to act en 
masse, by a synthetic rather than an analytic process; even as the out« 

Section 2. — Essatf 1. 281 

ward senses, from -A^liich the metaphor is taken, perceive immediatelyj 
eacjh as it were by a peculiar tact or intuition, without any consciousness 
of the mechanism hj which the perception is realized. This is often 
exemplified in welt-bred, unaffected, and innocent women. I know a 
lady, on whose judgment, from constant experience of its rectitude, I 
could rely almost as on an oracle. But when she has sometimes pro- 
ceeded to a detail of the grounds and reasons for her opinion, then, led 
by similar experience, 1 have been tempted to interrupt her with, " I 
will take your advice," or, " I shall act on your opinion ; for I am sure, 
you are in the right. But as to the fors and becauses, leave them to mc 
to find out." The general accompaniment of sense is a disposition to 
avoid extremes, whether in theory or in practice, with a desire to remain 
in sympathy with the general mind of the age or country, and a feeling 
of the necessity and utility of compromise. If genius be the initiative, 
and talent the administrative, sense is the conservative, branch in the 
intellectual republic. 

By cleverness (which I dare not with Dr. Johnson call a low word, 
while there is a sense to be expressed which it alone expresses) I mean 
a comparative readiness in the invention and use of means for the 
realizing of objects and ideas, often of such ideas which the man of 
genius only could have originated, and which the clever man perhaps 
neither fully comprehends nor adequately appreciates, even at the mo- 
ment that lie is prompting or executing the machinery of their accom- 
plishment. In short, cleverness is a sort of genius for instrumentality. 
It is the brain in the hand. In literature, cleverness is more frequently 
accompanied by wit, genius and sense by humour. 

If I take the three great countries of Europe, in respect of intellectual 
character, namely, Germany, England, and France, I should characterize 
them thus ; premising only that in the first line of the first two tables I 
mean to imply that genius, rare in all countries, is equal in both of 
these, the instances equally numerous, and characteristic therefore not 
in relation to each other, but in relation to the third country. The other 
qualities are more general characteristics. 

Genius, | Talent, | Fancy. 

The latter chiefly as exhibited in wild combination and in pomp o( 
wnament. N.B. Imagination is implied in genius. 

Genius, | Sense, | Humoub. 

Clbveeness, 1 Talent, | Wit. 


Tlie Friend, 

So again with regard to the forms and effects, in whicL the qualities 
manifest themselves intellectually, 

Idea, or Law anticipated,* | Totality,! | Distinctness. 

Law discovered,:^ ( Selection, | Clearness, 

Theory invented, | PAKTicuLARrTY,§ | Palpability. 

Lastly, we might exhibit the same qualities in their moral, religious, 
and political manifestations ; in the cosmopolitism of Germany, the con- 
temptuous nationality of the Englishman, and the ostentatious and 
boastful nationality of the Frenchman. The craving of sympathy marks 
the German, inwai-d pride the Englishman, vanity the Frenchman. 
So again, enthusiasm, visionariness seems the tendency of the German ; 
zeal, zealotry of the English; fanaticism of the French. But the 
thouglitful reader will find these and many other characteristic points 
contained in, and deducible from, the relations in which the mind of the 
three countries bears to time. 

GERMANY— Past and Future. 

ENGLAND — Past and Present. 

FRANCE— The Present. 

A wliirnsical friend of mine, of more genius than discretion, charac* 
terizes the Scotchman of Hterature (confining his remark, however, to 

* This as co-ordinate with genius in the 
first table, applies likewise to the few only ; 
and conjoined with the two following quali- 
ties, as ger eral charai terisiics of Oerman 
intellect, includes or supposes, as its conse- 
quences and accompaniments, speculation, 
system, method ; which in a somi'what 
lower class of minds appear as nationality, 
(or a predilection for noumeva, mundus in- 
telligibilis, as contra-distinRuished from 
phenomena, or mundus sensibilis) scheme, 
arrangement, orderliopss. 

f In totality 1 imply encyclopaedic learn- 
ing, exhaustion of tlie sulijects treated of, and 
tlie passion for completion and the love of 
the complete. 

J See the following Essays on Method. It 
might have been expressed as the contem- 
plation of ideas objectivly, as existing 
powers, while the German of equal genius is 
predisposed to contemplate law subtectively, 
with anticipation of a correspondent in 

} Tendency to individualize, embody, in- 
sulate, fX. gr. the vitreous and the resinous 
fluids instead of the positive and negative 
forces of the power of electricity. Thus too, 
it was not sufficient that oxygen was the 
principal, and wlih one exception, the only 
then known acidifying substance ; the power 
and principle of acidification must be em. 
bodied and as it were impersonated and 
hypostasized in this gas. Hence the idoHsm 
of the French, here expressed in one of its 
results, viz., palpability. Ideas are here out 
of the question. I had almost said, that 
ideas and a Parisian philosopher are incompa- 
tible terms, since the latter half, I mean, of 
the reign of I ouis XIV. But even the con- 
ceptions of a Frenchman, whatever he admits 
to be con«eivable, must be imageable, and the 
imageable niast be fancied tangible— the non- 
apparency of either or both being accounted 
for by the disproportion of our senses, not by 
the nature of the conceptions. 

Section 2.—-Ex-mj 2. 283 

the period since the Union) as a dull rreiicbman and :. superficial Ger- 
fioan. But when I recollect the splendid exceptions of Hnme, Eobevt- 
son, Smollett, Reid, Thompson (if this last instance be not objected to as 
savouring of geographical pedantry, that truly amiable man and genuine 
poet having been born but a few furlongs from the English border), 
Dugald Stewart, Burns, Walter Scott, Hogg and Campbell — not to 
mention the very numerous physicians and prominent dissenting 
ministers, born and bred beyond the Tweed — I hesitate in recording so 
wild an opinion, which derives its plausibility chiefly from the circum- 
stance, so honourable to our northern sister, that Scotchmen generally 
have mere, and a more learned, education than the same ranks in other 
countries, below the first class ; but in part likewise, from the common 
mistake of confounding the general character of an emigrant, whose ob- 
jects are in one place and his best affections in another, with the parti- 
cular character of a Scotchman : to which we may add, perhaps, the 
clannish spirit of provincial literature, fostered undoubtedly by the 
peculiar relations of Scotland, and of which therefore its metropolis may 
he a striking, but is far from being a solitary, instance. 


H oSoS KaTbt, 

The road downward. Hebacut. Fragment. 

A MO UR de mot-meme, mais lien calcule, was the motto and maxim 
■■^^ of a French philosopher. Our fancy, inspirited by the more imagi- 
native powers of hope and fear, enahles us to present to ourselves the 
future as the present ; and thence to accept a scheme of self-love for a 
system of morality. And doubtless, an enlightened self-interest would 
recommend the same course of outward conduct as the sense of duty 
would do ; even though the motives in the former case had respect to 
this life exclusively. But to show the desirableness of an object, or the 
contrary, is one thing ; to excite the desire, to constitute the aversion, is 
another : the one being to the other as a common guide-post to the 
" chariot instinct with spirit," which at once directs and conveys, or (to 
use a more trivial image) as the hand and hour-plate, or at the utmost 
the regulator, of a watch to the spring and wheel- work, or rather to the 
whole watch. Nay, where the sufficiency and exclusive validity of the 
former are adopted as the maxim (regula maxima) of the moi-al sense, it 
would be a fairer and fuller comparison to say, that it is to the latter as 
the dial to the sun, indicating its path by intercepting its radiance. 

But let it be granted, that in certain individuals from a happy even- 
ness of nature, formed into a habit by the strength of education, the 
influence of example and by favourable circumstances in general, the 

284 The Friend. 

actions diverging from self-love as their centre should be precisely tlu? 
Same as those produced from the Christian principle, which requires of 
us that we should place our self and our neighbour at an equal distance, 
and love both alike as modes in which we realize and exhibit the love of 
God above all : wherein would the difference be then ? I answer boldly ; 
even in that for which all actions have their whole worth and their 
main value — in the agents themselves. So much indeed is this of the 
very substance of genuine morality, that wherever the latter has given 
way in the general opinion to a scheme of ethics founded on utility, its 
place is soon challenged by the spirit of honour. Paley, who degrades 
the spirit of honom* into a mera club-law among the higher classes 
originating in selfish convenience, and enforced by the penalty of excom- 
munication from the society which habit had rendered indispensable to 
the happiness of the individuals, has misconstrued it not less than 
yhaftesbury, who extols it as the noblest influence of noble natures. 
The spirit of honour is more indeed than a mere conventional substitute 
for honesty ; but, on the other hand, instead of being a finer form of moral 
life, it may be more truly described as the shadow or ghost of virtue 
deceased. For to take the word in a sense which no man of honour would 
acknowledge, may be allowed to the writer of satires, but not to the 
moral philosopher. Honour imphes a reverence for the invisible and 
supersensual in our nature, and so far it is virtue ; but it is a virtue that 
neither understands itself or its true source, and therefore often unsub- 
stantial, not seldom fantastic, and always more or less ca[)riciou3. 
Abstract the notion from the lives of Lord Herbert of Cherbury, or 
Henry IV. of France ; and then compare it with 1 Cor. xiii, and the 
Epistle to Philemon, or rather with the realization of this fair ideal 
in the character of St. Paul • himself. I know not a better test. Nor 
can I think of any investigation that would be more instructive where 
it would be safe, but none likewise of greater delicacy from the probability 
of misinterpretation, than a history of the rise of honour in tbe European 

* This has struck the better class even of good while it is latent, and hidden, as it 
infidels. Collins, one of the most learned of were, in the centre ; but the esseniial cause of 
our Kuglish deists, is said to have declared, fiendish guilt, when it makes itseli existential 
that contradictory as nriracles appeared to and peripheric— si quando in ciicumferen- 
his reason, he would believe in them not- tiam erunipat: (in both cases 1 liave pur- 
withstanding, if it could be proved lo him posely adopted the language of the old 
that iSt. Paul had asserted any one as having mystic theosophers)—! tlnd the oniy expUina- 
been woikcd by hunself in the modern sense tioi] of a moral phenomenon not Vfry un- 
of the word miracle; adding, 'St. Paul was common in the last moments of Condemned 
so perfect a gentleman and a man of felons — viz. the obsiinate denial, not of the 
honour !" When 1 oil I duelling, and similar main guilt, which might he accounted for hv 
aberrations of honour, a moral heresy, I ordinary motives, l)ut of some particular act, 
refer to the force ol the Greek a'ipecrts, as sig- which had been proved beyond all possibilitv 
nil'ying a principle or opinion taken up by of doubt, and attested by the ci'imlnal's owii 
the will for the wills sake, as a proof and accomplices and fellow-sufterers in their lasl 
jjledge to Itself of its own power of self- confessions ; and this tuo an act, the non- 
determuiation, independent of all other perpetration of wliicli, if believed, could 
motives. In the gloomy gratiflcation de- neither mitigate the sentence of the law, nor 
rived or anticipated from the exercise of this even the opinions of men after the sentence 
awful power — the condition of all moral had been carried into execution. 

Section 2. — Essay 2. 285 

monarcliies as connected with the corruptions of Chii&iianity ; and an 
inquiry into the specific causes of the inefficacy which has attended tho 
combined efforts of divines and moralists against the practice and obliga- 
tion of duelling. 

Of a widely different character from this moral aipeais, yet as a deri- 
rative from the same root, we may contemplate the heresies of the 
Gnostics in the early ages of the church, and of the family of love, with 
other forms of Antinomianism, since the Reformation to the present day. 
But lest in uttering truth I should convey falsehood and fall myself into 
the error which it is my object to expose, it will be requisite to distinguish 
an apprehension of the whole of a truth, even where that apprehension 
is dim and indistinct, from a partial perception of the same rashly 
assumed as a perception of the whole. The first is renden^d inevitable 
in many things for many, in some points for all, men fi'om the pro- 
gressiveness no less than from the imperfection of humanity, wh-ich 
itself dictates and enforces the precept, Believe that thou mayest under- 
stand. The most knowing must at times be content with the facit 
of a sum too complex or subtle for us to follow nature through the 
antecedent process. The Greek verb, a-vvUvai, which we render by 
the word understand, is literally the same as our own idiomatic phrase, 
to go along with. Hence in subjects not under the cognizance of the 
senses wise men have always attached a high value to general and long- 
continued assent, as a presumption of truth. After all the subtle reason- 
ings and fair analogies which logic and induction could supply to a 
mighty intellect, it is yet on this ground that the Socrates of Plato mainly 
rests his faith in the immortality of the soul, and the moral government 
of the universe. It had been held by all nations in all ages, but with 
deepest conviction by the best and wisest men, as a belief connatui-al 
with goodness and akin to prophecy. The same argument is adopted by 
Cicero, as the principal ground of his adherence to divination. Oentem 
quidem nullam video neque tarn humanam atque doctum, neque tarn 
immanem tamque harharam, quce non significari futura, tt a quihusdum 
in telligi prcedicique posse censeat.* I confess, I can never read tlie De 

* (^translation.) — I find indeed no people favour of eminent and even of popular 

or nation, liowever civilized and cultivated, or literati, among whom 1 take this opportunity 

however wild and bartarous, but have of expressing my acknowledgments to the 

deemed that there are antecedent signs of author of VVaverley, Guy Mannering, &c. 

future events, and some men capable of un- How (asked Ulysses, addressing his guardian 

derstanding and predicting tl'/^m. goddess) shall 1 be able to recognize Proteus 

1 am tempted to add a passage from my in the swallow that skims round our houses 

own translation of Schiller's Wallenstein, whom I have been accustomed to behold as a 

the more so that the work has been long ago swan of Phcebus, measuring his movements 

used up, as " winding-sheets for pilchards," to a celestial music ? In both alike, she re- 

or extant only by (as I v.'ould fain flatter plied, thou canst recognize the god. 

myself) the kind partiality of the trunk- So supported, 1 dare avow that I have 

makers: though with exception of works for thought my translation worthy of a mora 

which public admiration supersedes or in- favourable reception from the public end 

eludes individual commendations, 1 scarce their literary guides and purveyors. But 

remember a book that has been more when 1 recollect, that a much better and very 

honoured by the express attestations in its far more valuabii work, tbe Rev. Mr. Cury'f 

286 The Friend. 

Divinatwne of this great orator, statesman, and patriot, ■without feeling 
myself inclined to consider this opinion as an instance of the second class, 
namely, of fractional truths integrated by fancy, passion, accident, and 
that preponderance of the positive over the ne2;ative in the memory, 
which makes it no less tenacious of coincidences than forgetful of failures. 
I am indeed firmly persuaded, that no doctrine was ever widely 
diffused among various nations through successive ages, and under dif- 
ferent religions (such, for instance, as the tenets of original sin and ot 
redemption, those fundamental articles of every known religion professing 
to have been revealed), which is not founded either in the nature of 
things, or in the necessities of human nature. Nay, the more strange 
and irreconcileable such a doctrine may appear to the understanding, the 
judgments of which are grounded on general rules abstracted from the 
world of the senses, the stronger is the presumption in its favour. For 
whatever satirists may say, or sciolists imagine, the human mind has no 
]>redilection for absurdity. I would even extend the principle (propor- 
tionately I mean) to sundry tenets, that from their strangeness or 
dangerous tendency, a[)pear only to be generally reprobated, as eclipses 
in the belief of barbarous tribes are to be frightened away by noises and 
execrations ; but which rather resemble the luminary itself in this one 
respect, that after a longer or shorter interval of occultation, they are 
still found to re-emerge. It is these, the reappearance of which 
(nomine tantum mutato), from age to age, gives to ecclesiastical history 
a deeper interest than that of romance, and scarcely less wild, for every 
piiilosophic mind. 1 am far from asserting that such a doctrine (the 
Antinomian, for instance, or that of a latent mystical sense in the words 
ol Scripture an<l the works of nature, according to Emanuel Sweden- 
Iwrg) shall be always the best possible, or not a distorted and dangerous, 
as well as partial, representation of the truth, on which it is founded. 
For the same body casts strangely different shadows in different positions 
and different degrees of light. But I dare, and do affirm that it alwaj's 
does shadow out some important truth, and from it derives its maiii 

incomparable translation of Dante, had very Of great events stride on before the events, 

nearly met with the same fate, 1 lose all And in to-day a ready walks to-morrow. 

Tight, and, 1 trust, all inclination to com- That which we read ot the Fourth Henry's 
plain : an inclination, which tlie mere sense death 

of its folly and uselessness w-U nut always Did ever vex and haunt me, like a tale 

suffice to preclude. Of my own future destiny. The king 

n . \\T\, » a J t ii. I u V „ Felt iti bis breast the phantom of the knift, 

CoUKTK^ -What? dost thou not beheve, ^ong ere RavaiUac arSi'd himself therewith. 

* . ! ? ..,Vi,.i^!f .!lair= ^r.^^\..*K. f„ „= > His Qulet Blind forsook him : the phantasms 

^ w l«^txv ^.^ 'n^ ^T^ht ?w VhL Started him in his Louvre, chased him forth 

\*ave t^en suTh vies-* ''™'* ' 1"^" ^'^ "I^- «'^- '■''^" ^""^'•■■" '^"«"^ 

have been sucn voices, Sounded that coronation festival : 

A.tlAvotildn.ical them And still with boding sense he heard tVtreaJ 

.Voices of warning, that announce to us j,f ,,^^ ^ , j, ^ ^. ^ 

Only^the inevitable As the sun Throughout th. streets of Paris. 
Krc It ,s risen, sometmiespamts Its image Ua«e«.(a«, pan ii. act v. scene i 

\a the atmosphere : so often do the spints ' *^ 

Section 2.— Essay 2. 287 

influence over the faith of its adherents, obscure as their perception of this 
tnitb may be, and though they may themselves attribute their belief to 
the supernatural gifts of the founder, or the miracles by which his 
preaching had been accredited. (*See Wesley's Journal.) But we have 
the highest possible authority, that of Scripture itself, to justify us in 
putting the question : Whether miracles can, of themselves, work a true 
conviction in the mind ? There are spiritual truths which must derive 
their evidence from within, which whoever rejects, "neither will he 
believe though a man were to rise from the dead " to confinn them. 
And under the Mosaic law a miracle in attestation of a false doctrine 
subjected the miracle-worker to death : whether really or only seemingly 
supernatural, makes no difference in the present argument, its power of 
convincing, whatever that power may be, whether great or small, de- 
pending on the fulness of the belief in its miraculous nature. Est quihus 
esse videtur. Or rather, that I may express the same position in a form 
less likely to offend, is not a true efficient conviction of a moral truth, 
is not " the creating of a new heart," which collects the energies of a 
man's whole being in the focus of the conscience, the one essential mii-acle, 
the same and of the same evidence to the ignorant and the learned, winch 
no superior skill can counterfeit, human or demoniacal ? Is it not em- 
phatically that leading of the Father, without which no man can come 
to Christ? Is it not that implication of doctrine in the miracle, and of 
miracle in the doctrine, which is the bridge of communication between 
the senses and the soul ? That predisposing warmth that renders the 
understanding susceptible of the specific impression from the historic, 
and from all other outward, seals of testimony ? Is not this the one 
infallible criterion of miracles, by which a man can know whether they 
be of God? The abhorrence in which the most savage or barbarous 
tribes hold witchcraft, in which however their belief is so intense * as 
even to control the springs of life, — is not this abhorrence of witchcraft, 
under so full a conviction of its reality, a proof how little of divine, how 
little fitting to our nature, a miracle is, when insulated from spiritual 
truths, and disconnected from religion as its end ? . What then can we 
think of a theological theory, which adopting a scheme of prudential 
legality, common to it with " the sty of Epicurus," as far at least as the 
springs of moral action are concerned, makes its whole religion consist 
in the belief of miracles ! As well might the poor African prepare for 
himself a fetisch by plucking out the eyes from the eagle or the lynx, 
and enshrining the same, worship in them the power of vision. As the 
tenet of professed Christians (I speak of the principle not of the men, 
whose hearts will always more or less correct the errors of their under- 

* I refer the reader to Hearne's Travels Indies, grounded on judicial d icuments and 
iinoiig tiie Copper Indians, and to Bryau personal observation. 
ICdwurds's accouiiL ol the Oby in the West 

288 The Friend. 

standings) it is even more absurd, and the pretext for such a religion 
more inconsistenl than the religion itself. For they profess to derive 
from it their whole faith in that futurity, which if they had not previously 
believed on the evidence of their own consciences, of Moses and the Pro- 
phets, they are assured by the great Founder and Object of Christianity, 
that neither will they believe it, in any spiritual and profitable sense, 
though a man should rise from the dead. 

For myself, I cannot resist the conviction, built on particular and 
general history, that the extravagancies of Antinomianism and Solifi- 
dianisni are little more than the counteractions to this Christian 
paganism : the play, as it were, of antagonist muscles. The feelings 
will set up their standard against the understanding, whenever the un- 
derstanding has renounced its allegiance to the reason ; and what is 
faith, but the personal realization of the reason by its union with the 
will ? If we would drive out the demons of fanaticism from the people, 
we must begin by exorcising the spirit of Epicureanism in the higher 
ranks, and restore to their teachers the true Christian enthusiasm,* the 
vivifying influences of the altar, the censer, and the sacrifice. They 
must neither be ashamed of, nor disposed to explain away, the articles 
of prevenient and auxiliary grace, nor the necessity of being born again 
to the life from which our nature had become apostate. They must 
administer indeed the necessary medicines to the sick, the motives of 
fear as well as of hope ; but they must not withhold from them the idea 
of health, or conceal from them that the medicines for the sick are not 
the diet of the healthy. Nay, they must make it a part of the curative 
process to induce the patient, on the first symptoms of recovery, to look 
forward with prayer and aspiration to that state in which perfect love 
shuttetk out fear. Above all, they must not seek to make the mysteries 
of faith what the world calls rational, by theories of original sin and 
redemption borrowed analogically from the imperfection of human 
law-courts and the coarse csntrivances of state expedience. 

Among the numerous examples with which I might enforce thia 
warning, I refer, not without reluctance, to the most eloquent, and one 
of the most learned of our divines ; a rigorist, indeed, concerning the 
authority of the Church, but a latitudinarian in the articles of its faith ; 
who stretched the latter almost to the advanced post of Socinianism, 
and strained the former to a hazardous conformity with the assumptions 
of the Roman hierarchy. With what emotions must not a pious mind 
j5eruse such passages as the following : — " Death reigned upon them 
whose sins could not be so imputed as Adam's was ; but although it 
was not wholly imputed upon their own account, yet it was imputed 

• The original meaning of the Greek, priest during the performance of the senricoi 
tveovcriao-fibc, is — the influence of the divinity at the altar, 
fuch as was supposed to take possession of the 

Section 2.-^Essay 2. 289 

tijjon their's and Adam's. For God was so exasperated witn mankind, 
that being angry lie would still continue that punishment to lesser sins 
and sinners, whieh he had first threatened to Adam only. The case is 
this : Jonathan and Michal were Saul's children. It came to pass that 
seven of Saul's issue were to be hanged ; all equally innocent — equally 
culpable.* David took the five sons of Michal, for she had left rim 
unhandsomely. Jonathan was his friend, and therefore he spared his 
son, Mephibosheth. Here it was indifferent as to the guilt of the 
persons (observe, no guilt was attached to either of them) whether 
David should take the sons of Michal or of Jonathan ; but it is likely 
that, as upon the kindness which David had to Jonathan, he spared his 
son, so upon the just provocation of Michal he made that evil to fall 
upon them, which, it may be, they should not have suffered, if their 
mother had been kind. Adam was to God as Michal to David ! ! ! 
(Taylor's Polem. Tracts, p. 711.) And this, with many passages equally 
gross, occurs in a refutation of the doctrine of original sin, on the groimd 
of its incongruity with reason, and its incompatibility with God's 
justice ! " Exasperated " with those whom the bishop has elsewhere, in 
the same treatise, declared to have been " innocent and most unfor- 
tunate " — the two things that most conciliate love and pity ! Or, if 
they did not remain innocent, yet, those whose abandonment to a mere 
nature, while they were subjected to a law above nature, he affirms to 
be the irresistible cause that they, one and all, did sin ! — and this at 
once illustrated and justified by one of the worst actions of an imperfect 
mortal ! So far could the resolve to coerce all doctrines within the 
limits of reason (i. e. the individual's power of comprehension) and the 
prejudices of an Arminian against the Calvinist preachers, carry a 
highly-gifted and exemplary divine. Let us be on our guard, lest 
similar effects should result from the zeal, however well-grounded in 
some respects, against the church Calvinists of our days. The writer's 
belief is, perhaps, equi-distant from that of both parties, the Grotian 
and the Genevan. But, confining my remark exclusively to the 
doctrines and the practical deductions from them, I could never read 
Bishop Taylor's Tract on " The Doctrine and Practice of Eepentance," 
without being tempted to characterize High Calvinism as (compara- 
tively) a lamb in wolf's skin, and strict Arminianism as approaching to 
the reverse. 

Actuated by these motives, I have devoted the following essay to a 
brief histoiy of the rise and occasion of the latitudinarian system in its 
first birth-place in Greece, and a faithful exhibition both of its parentage 
and its offspring. The reader will find it strictly correspondent to the 
motto of both essays, tj o8os Kara — the way downwards. 

• These two words are added without the but that they were the children of Saul ! mid 
least ground in Scripture, according t" which sacrificed to a point of state expedience, 
(2 Samuel, xxi.) no charge was laid to them 


290 The Friend. 



'H oSo! KaTia. 
The road downwards. Hebacltt. li'ragmenl. 

AS Pythagoras (584 a.c), declining the title of the wise man, is said 
to have firs* named himself Philosopher, or lover of wisdoro, so 
Protagoras, followed by Gorgias, Prodicus, &c. (444 a.c), found even 
the former word too narrow for his own opinion of himself, and first 
assumed the title of Sophist ; this word originally signifying one who 
professes the power of making others wise, a wholesale and retail dealer 
ia wisdom — a wisdom-monger, in the same sense as we say, an iron- 
monger. In this, and not in their abuse of the arts of reasoning, have 
Plato and Aristotle placed the essential of the sophistic character. 
Their sophisms were indeed its natural products and accompaniments, 
but must yet be distinguished from it, as the fruits from the tree. 
EfiTTOpos ris, KaTufkos, dvTOTrwXj/s irepi ra rrjs "^VXV^ fia6T]fiaTa—-a 
vender, a market-man, in moral and intellectual knowledges (connois- 
aances) — one who hires himself out or puts himself up at auction, as a, 
carpentei" and iipholsterer to the heads and hearts of his customers — 
such are the phrases by which Plato at once describes and satirizes the 
proper sophist. Nor does the Stagyrite fall short of his great master 
and rival in the reprobation of these professors of wisdom, or differ from 
him in the grounds of it. He too gives the baseness of the motives, 
joined with the impudence and delusive nature of the pretence as the 
generic character. 

Next to this pretence of selling wisdom and eloquence, they were 
distinguished by their itinerancy. Athens was, indeed, their great 
emporium and place of rendezvous ; but by no means their domicile. 
Such were Protagoras, Gorgias, Prodicus, Hippias, Polus, Callicles, 
Thrasymachus, and a whole host of sophists minorum gentium : and 
though many of the tribe, like the Euthydemus and Dionysiodorus so 
dramatically portrayed by Plato, were mere empty disputants, sleight- 
of-word jugglers, this was far from being their common character. 
Both Plato and Aristotle repeatedly admit the brilliancy of their talents 
and the extent of their acquirements. The following passage from the 
Timaeus of the former will be my best commentary as well as authority. 
" The race of sophists, again, I acknowledge for men of no common 
powers, and of eminent skill and experience in many and various kinds 
of knowledge, and these too not seldom truly fair and ornamental of our 
nature ; but I fear that somehow, as being itinerants from city to city, 
loose from all permanent ties of house and home, and everywhere alienS] 


S^diou2.— Essay S. 291 

they slio<yt wide .)f tho proper aim of man whether as philosopher or as 
citizen." The few remains of Zeno the Eleatic, his paradoxes against 
the reality of motion, are mere identical propositions spun out into a 
Sort of whimsical conundrums, as in the celebrated paradox entitled 
Achilles and the tortoise, the whole plausibility of which rests on the 
trick of assuming a minimum of time while no minimum is allowed to 
space, joined with that of exacting from Intelligibilia (Nou/ueva) tho 
conditions peculiar to objects of the senses (^aivoneva). The passages 
still extant from the works of Gorgias, on the other hand, want nothing 
but the form* of a premise to undermine by a legitimate deductio ad 
absurd um all the philosophic systems that had been hitherto advanced 
with the exception of the Heraclitic, and of that too as it was generally 
understood and interpreted. Yet Zeno's name was and ever will be 
held in reverence by philosophers ; for his object was as grand as his 
motives were honourable — that of assigning limits to the claims of 
the senses, and of subordinating them to the pure reason ; while Grorgia* 
will ever be cited as an instance of prostituted genius from the immoral 
nature of his object and the baseness of his motives. These and not hi.s 
sophisms constituted him a sophist — a sophist whose eloquence and 
logical skill rendered him only the more pernicious. 

Soon after the repulse of the Persian invaders, and as a heavy 
counter-balance to the glories of Marathon and Plattea, we may date 
the commencement of that corruption first in private and next in public 
life, which displayed itself more or less in all the free states and com- 
munities of Greece, but most of all in Athens. The causes are obvious, 
and such as in popular republics have always followed, and are them- 
selves the effects of, that passion for military glory and political prepon- 
derance, which may well be called the bastard and the parricide of 
liberty. In reference to the fervid but light and sensitive Athenians, 
we may enumerate, as the most operative, the giddiness of sudden 
aggrandisement ; the more intimate connection and frequent inter- 
course with the Asiatic states ; the intrigues with the court of Persia ; 
the intoxication of the citizens at large, sustained and increased by the 
continued allusions to their recent exploits, in the flatteries of the 
theatre, and the fvmeral panegyrics; the rage for amusement and 
public shows ; and, lastly, the destruction of the Athenian constitution 
by the ascendancy of its democratic element.. During the operation of 
these causes, at an early period of the process,, and no unimportant part 
of it, the Sophists made their first appearance. Some of these applied 
the lessons of their art in their own persons, and traded for gain and 
gainful influence in the character of demagogues and public orators ; but 

* Viz. If either the world iteelf as an anl- ing to Thales or Empedocles, or if a nous, as 

mated whole, according to the Italian school ; explained by Anaxagoras ; be asBQUed na 

or if atoms, according to Democritus ; or any the absolutely firsts then,, Sec 
une fTlinai element, as water or fire^ accord- 

292 The Friend. 

the greater number offered themselves as instructors, in the arts d 
persuasion and temporary impression, to as many as could come up to 
the high prices at which they rated their services. Newi' Trkova-iav 
fifjpa (ro(f)ioTiKTi (these are Plato's words) — Hireling hunters of the 
young and rich, they offered to the vanity of youth and the ambition of 
wealth a substitute for that authority, which by the institutions of 
Solon had been attached to high birth and property, or rather to the 
moral discipline, the habits, attainments, and directing motives, on 
which the great legislator had calculated (not indeed as necessary or 
constant accompaniments, but yet) as the regular and ordinary results 
of comparative opulence and renowned ancestry. 

The loss of this stable and salutary influence was to be supplied by 
the arts of popularity. But in order to the success of this scheme, it 
was necessary that the people themselves should be degraded into a 
populace. The cupidity for dissipation and sensual pleasure in all ranks 
had kept pace with the increasing inequality in the means of gratifyirg 
it. The restless spirit of republican ambition, engendered by their 
success in a just war, and by the romantic character of that success, had 
already formed a close alliance with luxury in its early and most 
vigorous state, when it acts as an appetite to enkindle, and before it has 
exhausted and dulled the vital energies by the habit of enjoyment. 
But this corruption was now to be introduced into the citadel of the 
moral being, and to be openly defended by the very arms and instru- 
ments which had been given for the purpose of preventing or chastising 
its approach. The understanding was to be corrupted by the perversion 
of the reason, and the feelings through the medium of the under- 
standing. For this purpose all fixed principles, whether grounded on 
reason, religion, law, or antiquity, were to be undermined, and then, as 
now, chiefly by the sophistry of submitting all positions alike, however 
heterogeneous, to the criterion of the mere understanding, disguising or 
concealing the fact, that the rules which alone they applied, were 
abstracted from the objects of the senses, and applicable exclusively to 
things of quantity and relation. At all events, the minds of men were 
to be sensualized ; and even if the arguments themselves failed, yet the 
principles so attacked were to be brought into doubt by the mere 
frequency of hearing all things doubted, and the most sacred of all now 
openly denied, and now insulted by sneer and ridicule. For by the 
constitution of our nature, as far as it is human nature, so awful is 
truth, that as long as we have faith in its attainability and hopes of its 
attainment, there exists no bribe strong enough to tempt us wholly and 
permanently from our allegiance. 

Religion, in its widest sense, signifies the act and habit of reverencing 
the Invisible, as the high-est both in ourselves and in nature. To this 
the senaes and their immediate objects are to be made subservient, the 

Section %~Egsay 3. 293 

one as its organs, tlie other as its exponents ; and as siicli, therefore, 
aaving on their own account nc^ true value, because no inherent worth. 
They are a language, in short ; and taken independently of their repre- 
sentative function, from words they become mere empty sounds, and 
differ from noise only by exciting expectations which they cannot gratify 
— fit ingredients of the idolatrous charm, the potent Abracadabra of a 
sophisticated race, who had sacrificed the religion of faith to the super- 
stition of the senses, a race of animals, in whom the presence of reason 
is manifested solely by the absence of instinct. 

The same principle, which in its application to the whole of our being 
becomes religion, considered speculatively is the basis of metaphysical 
science, that, namely, which requires an evidence beyond that of sensible 
concretes, which latter the ancients generalized in the word, physica, 
and therefore (prefixing the preposition ineta, i. e. beyond or transcending) 
named the superior science, metaphysics. The Invisible was assumed 
as the supporter of the apparent, tS>v (paivofievav as their substance, a 
term which, in any other interpretation, expresses only the striving of 
the imaginative power under conditions that involve the necessity of its 
frustration. If the Invisible be denied, or (which is equivalent) con- 
sidered invisible from the defect of the senses and not in its own nature, 
the sciences even of observation and experiment lose their essential 
copula. The component parts can never be reduced into an harmo- 
nious whole, but must owe their systematic arrangement to accidents of 
an ever-shifting perspective. Much more than this must apply to the 
moral world disjoined from religion. Instead of morality we can at 
best have only a scheme of prudence, and this too a prudence fallible and 
short-sighted ; for were it of such a kind as to be bond fide coincident 
with morals in reference to the agent as well as to the outward action, 
its first act would be that of abjuring its own usurped primacy. By 
celestial observations alone can even terrestrial charts be constructed 

The first attempt therefore of the Sophists was to separate ethics from 
the faith in the Invisible, and to stab morality through the side of religion 
— an attempt to which the idolatrous polytheism of Greece furnisiied too 
many facilities. To the zeal with which he counteracted this plan by 
endeavours to purify and ennoble that popular belief, which, from obedi- 
ence to the laws he did not deem himself permitted to subvert, did 
Socrates owe his martyr-cup of hemlock. Still while any one principle 
of morality remained, religion in some form or other must remain in- 
clusively. Therefore, as they commenced by assailing the former 
through the latter, so did they continue their warfare by reversing the 
operation. The principle was confounded with the particular acts, in 
which under the guidance of the understanding or judgment it was to 
manifest itself. Thus the rule of expediency, which properlr Ixjlonged 

294 The Friend. 

to one and the lower part of morality, was made to be the whole. And 
so far there was at least a consistency in this ; for in two ways only 
could it subsist. It must either be the mere servant of religion, or its 
usurper and substitute. Viewed as principles, they were so utterly 
heterogeneous, that by no grooving could the two be fitted into each 
other — by no intermediate could they be preserved in lasting adhesion. 
The one or the other was sure to decompose the cement. We cannot 
have a stronger historical authority for the truth of this statement than 
the words of Polybius, in which he attiibutec the ruin of the Greek 
states to the frequency of perjury, which they had learnt from the 
Sophists to laugh at as a trifle that broke no bones, nay, as in some 
cases, an expedient and justifiable exertion of the power given us by 
nature over our own words, without which no man could have a secret 
that might not be extorted from him by the will of others. In the same 
spirit the sage and observant historian attributes the growth and 
strength of the Koman republic to the general reverence of the invisible 
powers, and the consequent horror in which the breaking of an oath was 
held. This he states as the causa causarum, as the ultimate and in- 
clusive cause of Eoman grandeur. 

Under such convictions, therefore, as the Sophists laboured with such 
fatal success to produce, it needed nothing but the excitement of the 
passions under circumstances of public discord to turn the arguments of 
expedience and self-love against the whole scheme of morality founded 
on them, and to procure a favourable hearing for the doctrines which Plato 
attribut^is to the Sophist Callicles, The passage is curious, and might 
be entitled, a Jacobin head, a genuine antique, in high preservation, 
" By nature," exclaims this Napoleon of old, " the worse off is always 
the more infamous, that, namely, which suffers wrong ; but according 
to the law it is the doing of wrong. For no man of noble spirit will let 
himself be wronged : this a slave only endures, who is not worth the 
life he has, and under injuries and insults can neither help himself or 
those that belong to him. Those who first made the laws were, in my 
opinion, feeble creatures, which in fact the greater number of men are ; 
or they would not remain entangled in these spider-webs. Such, how- 
ever, being the case, laws, honour, and ignominy were all calculated for 
the advantage of the law-makers. But in order to frighten away the 
stronger, whom they could not coerce by fair contest, and to secure 
greater advantages for themselves than their feebleness could otherwise 
have procured, they preached up the doctrine that it was base and con- 
trary to right to wish to have anything beyond others, and that in this 
wish consisted the essence of injustice. Doubtless it was very agreeable 
to them, if being creatures of a meaner class they were allowed to share 
equally with their natural superiors. But nature dictates plainly enfDuch 
another code of right, namely, that the nobler and stronger should pos* 

Section 2.— Essay 3. 295 

seas more than tne weaker and more pusillanimous. Where the powc 
is, there lies the substantial right. The whole realm of animals, nay 
the human race itself as collected in independent states and nations, de- 
monstrates that the stronger has a right to control the weaker for his 
own advantage. Assuredly they have the genuine notion of right, and 
follow the law of nature, though truly not that which is held valid in 
our governments. But the minds of our youths are preacht^d away from 
them by declamations on the beauty and fitness of letting themselves 
be mastered, till by these verbal conjurations the noblest nature is tamed 
and cowed, like a young lion born and bred in a cage. Should a man 
with full untamed force but once step forward, he would bieak all your 
spells and conjurations, trample your contra- natural laws uaderhis feet, 
vault into the seat of supreme power, and in a splendid style make the 
right of nature be valid among you," 

It would have been well for mankind, if such had always been the 
language of sophistry ! A selfishness, that excludes partnership, all men 
have an interest in repelling. Yet the principle is the same ; and if for 
jwwer we substitute pleasure and the means of pleasure, it is easy to 
construct a system well fitted to corrupt natures, and the more mis- 
chievous in proportion as it is less alarming. As long as the spirit of 
philosophy reigns in the learned and highest class, and that of religion 
in all classes, a tendency to blend and unite will be found in all objects 
of pursuit, and the whole discipline of mind and manners will be calcu- 
lated in relation to the worth of the agents. With the prevalence of 
sophistry, when the pure will (if indeed the existence of a will be ad- 
mitted in any other sense than as the temporary main current in the 
wide gust-eddying stream of our desires and aversions) is ranked among 
the means to an alien end, instead of being itself the one absolute end, 
in the participation of which all other things are worthy to be called 
good — with this revolution commences the epoch of division and sepa- 
ration, Things are rapidly improved, persons as rapidly deteriorated ; 
and for an indefinite period the powers of the aggregate increase, as the 
strength of the individual declines. Still, however, sciences may be 
estranged from philosophy, the practical from the speculative, and one 
of the two at least may remain. Music may be divided from poetry, 
and both may continue to exist, though with diminished influence. But 
religion and morals cannot be disjoined without the destruction of both : 
and that this does not take place to the full extent, we owe to the fre- 
quency with which both take shelter in the heart, and that men are 
always better or worse than the maxims which they adopt or concede. 

To demonstrate the hollowness of the present system, and to deduce 
the truth from its sources, is not possible for me without a previous 
agreement as to the principles of reasoning in general. The attempt 
eould neither be made within the limits of the present TTork, nor would 

296 The Friend. 

its success greatiy affect the immediate moral interests of the majority 
of the readers for whom this work was especially written. For as sciences 
are systems on principles, so in the life of practice is morality a principle 
without a system. Systems of morality are in truth nothing more than 
the old books of casuistry generalized, even of that casuistry which 
the genius of Protestantism gradually worked off' from itself like a 
heterogeneous humour, toget'aer with the practice of auricular confer- 
sion : a fact the more striking, because in both instances it was against 
the intention of the first teachers of the Keformation ; and the revival 
of both was not only urged, but provided for, though in vain, by no less 
men than Bishops Sau:iderson and Jeremy Taylor. 

But there is yet another prohibitory reason ; and this I cannot con- 
voy more effectually than in the words of Plato to Dionysius : — 

'AA.A.a TTolov ri fjiyjv tout' e<rTiv, w irat At,oim<riov koX A(opiSo9, rb epwnj/xa, o iravriav atrtov 
iaii, KaKwv; (aoAAoi' 6e ri nepl tovtov (iSls ev rfj tj/vxS ^yyvyvoiiivt], r)v h /lir) ti5 cfaipeS^ 
(T€Tou, TTJ^ a\rj6eia^ ovTu)^ ov jtA^jrore TVxjj* UAarcov ALOvu(Tta> CTrtO'T* fieuT* 

( Translation.}— 'But what a question is this, which you propose, Oh son of Dionysius and 
Doris ! — what is the origin and cause of all evil ? But rather is the darkness and travail con 
cernlng this, that thorn in the soul which unless a man shall have had removed, never can 
he partake of the truth that is verily and indeed truth. 

Yet that I may fulfil the original scope of The Friend, I shall attempt 
to provide the preparatory steps for such an investigation in the follow- 
ing Essays on the Principles of Method common to all investigations ; 
which I here present as the basis of my future philosophical and theo- 
logical writings, and as the necessary introduction to the same. And in 
addition to this, I can conceive no object of inquiry more appropriate, 
none which, commencing with the most familiar truths, with facts of 
hourly experience, and gradually winning its way to positions the most 
comprehensive and sublime, will more aptly prepare the mind for the 
reception of specific knowledge, than the full exposition of a principle 
■which is the condition of all intellectual progress, and which may be 
said even to constitute the science of education, alike in the narrowest 
and in the most extensive sense of the word. Yet as it is but fair to let 
the pubUc know beforehand what the genius of my philosophy is, and 
in what spirit it will be applied by me, whether in politics or religion, 
I conclude with the following brief history of the last hundred and 
thirty years, by a lover of Old England : — 

Wise and necessitated confirmation and explanation of the law of 
England, erroneously entitled The English Eevolution of 1688 — me- 
chanical philosophy, hailed as a kindred revolution in philosophy, and 
espoused as a common cause, by the partisans of the revolution in the 

The consequence is, or was, a system of natural rights instead of social 
and hereditary privileges— acquiescence in historic testimony substitutod 

Sechon 2. — Essay 4. 297 

for faith, and yet the true historical feeling, the feeling of being an his- 
torical people, generation linked to generation by ancestral reputation, 
by tradition, by heraldry — this noble feeling, I say, openly stormed oi 
perilously undermined. 

Imagination excluded from poesy, and fancy paramount in physics ; 
the eclipse of the ideal by the mere shadow of the sensible — subfiction 
for supposition. Plebs pro Senatu Populoque — the wealth of nations 
for the well-being of nations and of man ! 

Anglo-mania in France, followed by revolution in America ; consti- 
tution of America appropriate, perhaps, to America, but elevated from a 
particular experiment to a universal model. The word constitution 
altered to mean a capitulation, a treaty, i